Essays

Words

Thanks for sharing this!

I’ve always enjoyed searching for easy to understand words. Which probably explains why there are three books of synonyms and antonyms, plus two regular dictionaries parked on my desk in Carpenter Country.

The dictionaries are great for checking spelling, pronunciation, origin and meaning. The trio of Thesauruses’ allows me to find the most accurate way to get across what I’m trying to say–in the simplest terms.

But why do I have this need to keep searching for words that express exactly what I mean? I blame it on Aunt Helen (yes, we have the same name).

It happened when I was eight or nine and said something that made my aunt see RED. I’ve forgotten my so-called transgression, but I do remember her voice shrilling at me, “Apologize! Apologize!”–and my equally strident yell of “No!”

When I turned to walk away, she grabbed my arm, gave me a look designed to curdle milk and growled through gritted teeth, “Why…Won’t…You…Apologize?”

The question was followed by a terse silence as I stared at my feet and wondered what she was talking about. Finally, I glanced up at her and whispered, “I don’t know what apologize means.”

She let go of my arm, moved her hand to my shoulder and in a softer tone said, “It means, say you’re sorry.”

I’m pretty sure my awkward moment sparked an interest in trying to discover words that wouldn’t baffle me or anyone else. And for that I have to express my sincere appreciation, gratefulness and gratitude to Aunt Helen.

Or better yet, I should just say-Thanks!

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