A form of verbal riddle in which the answer is a two-word phrase, both words rhyming and having the same number of syllables, and the question is a definition (often two synonyms for the answer words).

For example:

    Corpulent feline = fat cat

    Keening sidekick = sobbin' Robin

The first example is properly called a hink-pink because it uses words of one syllable; two makes it a hinky-pinky, and three would make it a hinkety-pinkety.

Before we get to exactly what a “hinky pinky” is, there’s a question I need to ask. Is there such a thing as misplaced pride?

Because if there is, then today I’m a happy victim.

It’s not everyday that someone you know and love makes it into the daily paper for doing something good. She’s the one on the far right, the one with the surprised look on her face and a smile that seems to be about a mile wide. She’s all of eleven and some of her words and drawings are going to be published.

Well, not just her. All of her fifth grade chums that participated and contributed in a writing contest sponsored by folks from an organization known as the Scholastic Book Fairs. All in all, they received over 2,500 entries from schools all around the country and the fine folks at St. Joseph’s Montessori School decided to add their two cents worth and damned if they didn’t win in the nonfiction category. The book will be published this summer.

The teachers and the kids got it into their heads to come up with something called “hinky pinky” which is sorta like a riddle/rhyming contest in which answer can only be two words that rhyme and have the same number of syllables. There’s actually three categories for the hinky pinky.

The first is called a “hink pink” and so the answer can only have two words that each have only one syllable. Here’s an example…

Question: “What is a hink pink for a girl that’s a friend?”

Answer: A gal pal

Next, there’s the hinky pinky. For those, the answer requires two words that rhyme but contain only two syllables.

Question: “What is a hinky pinky for a bad breakfast?”

Answer: An awful waffle…(that one was one of borgette’s)

Then there’s the hinkety pinkety. For those of you still with me, that’s one that contains three syllables.

Question: “What is a hinkety pinkety for a sorrowful Irish elf?”

Answer: A woebegone leprechaun

Each question/answer is also illustrated by the kids…

So what do they get for their efforts?

Well, for starters, there are no royalties or anything like that. The school itself gets $5000.00 in merchandise and the kids get a free copy of the book. More importantly, the book will be sold in about 115,000 book fairs across the country.

I know many of you are probably thinking that that isn’t a lot of money for the school or recognition for the kids and that the folks that retain the rights to the book are getting off pretty cheap.

But then again, you didn’t see the smiles on the kids faces or hear their cheers when it was announced in front of the whole school. I caught the tape yesterday. Priceless…

Too often teachers take the brunt of the blame when we talk about the decline of the education system here in the States. They are often called lazy, ineffective and out of step with the methods of the modern world. The look on their faces inside that beaten down gymnasium that also serves as a cafeteria and an auditorium and a place to hold parent teacher conferences when the announcement was made was one of pure joy. I don’t know who was happier, them or the kids.

I’d like to thank them all…

In closing, I’m thinking that for many of us, myself included, the only time our names will be in print will be in the obituaries and by then, it’ll be too late. It truly was nice to see someone I cherish make it before me.

One last thing, a heartfelt thanks from the both of us to all of you who have offered Anna advice and encouragement here at E2 over the years. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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