Friday, September 14, 2007

In a Word

I'm reading a book about the history of Quaker beliefs and practices. Simplicity is one of four modes of recommended behavior. Simplicity in speech often gave Quakers a reputation for bluntness, but a single word can convey a lot, as I recently experienced.

I seldom understand what our almost-two-year-old friend, Ricardo, is saying; he doesn't talk a lot, and his primary language is Spanish. I was taking pictures of people at church, and as I sat there waiting for another subject, Ricardo climbed up by my knee. He put his face very close to the lens of my camera, and said, quite clearly, "Cheese."


During a recent visit by my daughter and her two boys, we left the six-year-old home with Grandpa while the three of us went out. Grandpa was working in his office upstairs, and Kadin was downstairs, engrossed in a computer game. A couple of hours later, as we approached our neighborhood on the return home, we saw Grandpa riding off on his bike.

"Oh, no!" we thought, "he's forgotten he's supposed to be watching the six-year-old."

"Kadin will be very upset," my daughter said. "He'll throw himself at me and demand to know why we left him all alone."

We hurridley entered the house. Kadin was still intently playing his computer game.

"Kadin!" we said. "Did you know Grandpa left the house and you're here all alone?"

He looked up and said, "Cool."

Then he went back to his game.

To exonerate Grandpa, he had a doctor's appointment, and saw that Kadin was fully occupied. And to be fair, we had been away a lot longer than we said we'd be.


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