" Golden chalice, good to house a god. "
Chalice in the vestry of the Ipatevskii Monastery in Kostroma, Russia - Credit: Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky
A chalice is a cup or goblet. In a Christian context, it is the cup which holds the consecrated wine of the Eucharist, drunk at Mass. The term is also resonant due to the legend of the Holy Grail – a complex web of myth, folklore and Christian tradition – which concerns a sacred and powerful object believed to have been the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper.
" They used to play quoits in the road with four big steel washers they'd found in a hardware store "
Children playing quoits, by William Merritt Chase (1849–1916)
A rare mention of play in association with the road. Quoits is a traditional game where players try to throw metal, rope or rubber rings over a spike in the ground.
" An old wooden watertower bound with iron hoops. "
Water is a precious commodity in The Road
, so the presence of an empty tower 'bound with iron hoops' is highly symbolic.
Many water towers were constructed during the Industrial Revolution. Their purpose is to hold water at an elevation sufficient to create a pressurised system.
" They moved through the streets like sappers. "
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Winniford checking a pothole for mines during a convoy from Camp Al Asad to Al Qaim, Iraq, on April 23, 2005.
A sapper is a military engineer, specialised in laying, detecting and disarming mines, but also trained in bridge-building, road and airfield construction and repair, demolition and field defences.
" he spread out the pieces of the map "
Map of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, revised May 1941, National Park Service Geological Survey, drawn by A.J. Reixach.
" They ate each of them two of the cornmeal cakes "
Cornmeal cakes are made from flour ground from dried corn. It is a common staple food, popular in the southern United States.
" They left the cart overturned in a field of sedge "
Sedges are grass-like, flowering plants of the Cyperaceae family. Aggressive, tenacious weeds, they are known to survive and flourish in very poor soils, and are common across the southeastern states of North America.
" a cedar wood, the trees dead and black but still full enough to hold the snow. "
A cedar forest under the snow