People have asked me, "What is a Grode?" I could only tell them that the word meant dirty or messy -- probably derived either from surfing lingo of the mid-60s or from the Veatles 'grotty.' I've since found another -- not inconsistent -- meaning for the word. In a sports-related novel, Backyard Brawl (Random House), by W. K. Stratton, a passage describes rites observed by the infamous, bonfire-burning Texas Aggies: "Before A&M officials halted the annual bonfire tradition--known by the proper name "Bonfire" in Aggie lingo—following the 1999 collapse that injured dozens and claimed twelve lives, students from this dorm were among those taking part in the early morning firewood cuts, arriving back in clothes caked with sweat and mud and leaning toward the fetid side: "grodes" (rhymes with "roads"). Tradition calls for grodes never to be washed. A common practice was to hang the filthy jeans and T-shirts from dorm windows following a cut—better that, I suppose, than have them smelling up the room. But true Aggies preserve their grodes long after they become Former Students (a proudly held formal title), sticking them away in a trunk like a talisman that might bring them luck someday. Tonight, nearly two years have passed since Bonfire last occurred, nearly two years since grodes flapped in the moisture-rich breezes blowing up from the Gulf of Mexico. But in the darkness we see people wearing them proudly." You'll be happy to know, if you didn't already know, that The (musical) Grodes remain unwashed to this day -- and able to stink up a room with the best of 'eml!