Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: Just four words

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

Just four words

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I read the death notice for my friend Carol's mother in The Times the other day. I never met Carol’s mother and didn’t know much about her aside from the lingering decline of her last few years. But four words in the obit made her come alive in my mind. Not as the 90-something woman who had become the object of care and worry, but as her actual self. She had been, the paper said, a “double-dutch jump-roper.”

What a picture. Four words and she leaped--jumped!--off the page and back into to her own vibrant, active life. Those were just the exact words, like Cartier-Bresson's exact moment , to capture her image. I could picture her eager, spunky, full of fun, and maybe a little more athletic than was convenient for a young girl growing up in the 1920s or '30s. I could also imagine her as a likely source of Carol’s own spirit, energy, and courage.

Those four words also made me think, once again, about the power of every single word we choose to write or utter. Just a few can create a whole world. They can bring someone back to life.

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