One of my favorite Christmas gifts ever was from my sister Lois. I was eight or nine years old, she was 16 years older than me and, in my little girl eyes, quite wealthy. She was a Medical Technologist and worked in a hospital laboratory in a big old hospital. 😜💲💲💲 What was this magnificent gift, you ask? A Scrabble board game. I was ecstatic. Seriously!!
Then I grew up and married a man who is not nearly as enamored by the game as I am. Early in our married life we would play games sometimes in the evenings instead of watching one of 3 available channels our 9″ black and white TV. (Yes. It was 9 inches diagonal. Yes that was our only TV. We were not wealthy)
His game of choice was Chess. Mine was Scrabble. I endured the chess games with all the exuberance of someone trying to clean dog feces from the soles of their shoes. He endured Scrabble…..well let’s just say he did not endure Scrabble at all. More often than not, after I had built up an enormously high score he would divert my attention and subtly (?) bump the bottom of the Scrabble board. The position of the tiles was irreparable. Game over. I may have uttered some words at this point. He may have laughed.
Recently for Christmas our youngest daughter and her hubby gave me this as a gift:
She knew my love for the game. She’s played many a Scrabble game with me over the years. I was as excited as I had been on that long ago Christmas to receive this gift.
This past weekend was our annual get-together for Easter in our hometown. My hubby’s brother’s family and our family, including our mom/mom-in-law, gathered at the brother’s home for a day of food and Easter egg hunting and just hanging around together. Exchanging words. Lots of chatter, lots of fun, lots of laughs.
During the course of the afternoon my sister-in-law asked if I had seen my name in the local newspaper this past week. Huh? No, I hadn’t read the paper. I couldn’t imagine what in the world I did that deserved my name in print. She quickly retrieved her copy of the paper.
Turns out it was this:
Spelling contest. One word won it all. Mayonnaise.
And I did represent our fair county at the state spelling bee. Where I very quickly learned that I wasn’t really that great at spelling. Second round of the bee, if memory serves. There were 105 county spellers. I finished in probably the top…. 100. 🙄
One word. Menagerie. With an “ie”, not a “y”.
People, it’s been 50 years since those two spelling contests. I will never ever forget how to spell either of those two words.
One of my favorite people on the planet is my mother-in-law. She’s been in my life longer than my own mother was. Coming up on 45 years.
She’s always so fun to hang out with. Loves to play games, loves her family no matter what they’re doing. Well, as long as they don’t try to HUG her. Her grandkids? They can hug her. Anyone else? Nope.
And, she loves words, too. Reads anything she can get her hands on. Loves a good conversation. Never afraid to join in with her two cents.
Until now. Sadly, her health has really been on the decline the past several months. Though her mind is as sharp as a tack, she often can’t say the words she’s thinking. She knows what she wants to say but often it’s an enormous struggle to speak them.
We came to visit her a few weeks ago and it was a day when the words weren’t coming. Her brother had visited her the day before and she really really wanted to tell us about his visit. She was so pleased that he’d visited. She wrote down some of the words for us to read, but would scratch them out in frustration when it wasn’t what was on her mind.
And then finally she looked at us and three words came out: “He hugged me.” Her face was lit up with a huge smile. Only three words but they told such a story. I fought back tears. It was obvious how much the hug, how much her brother’s love meant to her.
On a more recent visit we told her all about our trip to Texas and shared lots of stories about the fun we had. We told her we’re really looking forward to go on another trip. This time two words came easily to her. No effort: “Don’t wait.”
Immediately we both knew exactly why she said those two words. One December day, an ice storm, her husband falling and hitting his head really hard while scraping the windshield….the last day any of us would ever see him, or say words to him. Sixty-nine years old. She was sixty-seven. Just a few days short of fifty years of marriage. But so much life, so many years they planned to spend together were cut short that day. Everything changed so very quickly.
Don’t wait. Good advice in those two words.
Words, hugs, “I love you’s”, prayers, apologies, forgiveness, grace, time together, laughs, fun times, tears, compassion.
Don’t wait. Do what you need to do now. Say what you need to say.
Words can make all the difference in the world. Even just one word, two words, three words.