Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Real Life Conversation

My front yard was the scene of a neighborhood coffee-hour recently. By noon everyone was leaving, carrying their own chairs back home, chattering in friendly tones as the gathering dissolved into the next segment of Saturday.

The eleven-year-old boy from across the street offered to help me carry and put away my lawn chairs and tray of mugs. For some reason, my nose was dripping, so I said, “Just a minute, I have to get a hanky first.”


“I have to grab a hanky.”

“What’s a hanky?”

“You know, a handkerchief  . . to blow my nose on . . . like a tissue.”

“Oh!” and with that detail, he nodded in recognition.

When I was his age, at least once a year, my mother ordered for my sister and me each a dozen hankies with our names embroidered on them. That way, if we dropped one or left it at someone’s house or school, we’d get it back. Obviously, it didn’t work too well because the next year we’d each get another dozen hankies. 

The conversation with my young helper is a telling distillation of our double-generation gap, and it makes me feel very grandma-like.

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