Hue and Cry
By James Dent
I was looking through a catalog and spotted a sports shirt I
liked "available in cypress, delft, gourd, stone, cayenne, gravel, and
hermelyn." What? I know cayenne pepper is red, so that must mean red, and I've
heard of delft blue. But what color, in the name of Crayola, is cypress? Or
gourd? Or gravel?
I'm even more baffled by hermelyn. Is it animal, vegetable
or mineral? Would you wear it to a ballgame?
It's only recently that I've been able to come to terms with
fuchsia, taupe, and oatmeal. Whatever happened to red, green, blue, and yellow?
They were plain, ordinary, American colors. If you asked for a blue shirt -
dark blue, light blue, or medium blue - you knew what you were going to
Wait. I've looked further into the catalog. Here's a sweater
that comes in cherub, Halloween, oxblood, or bear heather. Picture this: you're
standing around with the guys, and one says, "Hey that's a nice sweater. What
color is it?"
If you answer, "Why, it's cherub," you may have to move to