Grasshopper Mind

WORDS from friends

NOVEMBER 19, 2023

The power of words, it seems, remain constant. Some words, because of how they are spoken and received, settle in for the long haul.


A special response to the last Grasshopper came from a friend of 70 years. In 1953 Robert was in the military, I worked for the US Forces in Europe. We were still seen as the occupying force. One evening Robert was in what was left of the city of Nuremberg, trying to buy movie tickets. A young German man, speaking  perfect English, said "Let me help you!"  Those words, from one considered our former enemy, were transformative. Turned out Karl-Heinz and Elizabeth were recently married. They were eager to share and to help. They invited us for blackberry wine, and peeks into home life. They helped us realize uncomfortable situations can be made pleasant with the right words.


A few years later, they emigrated to the USA.  They loved their new country.  They came to Robert's and my wedding in Greensboro in 1956.  They attended Robert's funeral in 2016.  They now live in North Carolina.  We don't see each other much, but we know we will always say to each other 'Let me help you."  The right words at the right time.


Another friend said - "I too love words. Have you read 'The Dictionary of Lost Words' by Pip Williams?"  No, I had not.  I have now.  It is fascinating.  Made my appreciation of words and dictionaries expand. 


Others remembered the words of friends that helped them through challenges and traumas. Traumas like a disjointed childhood. Losing a loved one. Challenges like first jobs and 'do you think this is right?'


Thank you all - for confirming the power of words. Thank you Karl and Elizabeth for the right words in 1953 and yesterday in 2023.


Your words also reminded me that of all the words, 'the greatest of these is LOVE.'  


Here's to an abundance of love and words of friendship around your Thanksgiving table.


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