Some linguists believe that we may or may not have started talking to each other about 100,000 years ago. But they don’t know for sure and they don’t know what started it. Could have come on all of a sudden or over time, with a series of grunts, hand gestures and other expressive means. Some believe that when humans began creating art, it gave us something to talk about.
What I do know is that conversations spark ideas, define turning points in life and can literally make one choose one path over another. I began thinking about conversations. I tend to get nostalgic this time of year.
At 16, I had my first date. In the back room of our house was a hobby/work/junk room that my father worked in—building, painting, puttering. There was a large table in the middle of the room. On it was a miniature town, a model of mountains and roads that he’d built from using various scraps of materials. He’d painted it shades of green, brown—nature’s colors. There was a train set that ran the length of this miniature world. I think it even choo-chooed, but that could be my brain adding things as grey matter does when it’s grasping at old memories.
That early evening, he was there working on something. I hugged him bye, saying, “Daddy, I’ll be back by eleven.” He was a man of very few words but the ones he said were solid, true, “You call me if you need anything, you understand?” And he hugged me back, hard.
Don’t be too harsh when I reveal this. I once entered beauty contests. I know, I know. I don’t like them either now. But in high school we had them in our very small town and I’m not apologizing for the times or where I’m from.
This was a big deal kind of thing, the dress one wore, the way in which a lady answered questions during the all-important opinion phase of the contest (holy crap, yes). My mom and I had gone shopping and found a chiffon strapless peach colored gown. It had a rhinestone-thing that went from the center of the bodice and wound around my neck.
Pageant night came and everyone was all a-flutter in the dressing room getting ready. Girls slipping into stockings and heels, curling their hair—that kind of thing. I applied heavy makeup and my mom helped me step into my dress. She zipped it up and it fell to the floor. I’d been dieting. My mom looked at me, mouth open.
“Brigitte, you are going to eat when you get home.”
She proceeded to pin the dress and I teetered out to do the pageant thing with a growling belly and a light head. “Eat,” my mom said, as she handed me a pan full of my favorite whipped cream and cherry cake thing she made when we got home that night.
“Don’t do this to yourself. It’s not that important.” She was right, as Moms often are. I’m good with the eating thing now.
Siblings & Girl Power
“I will beat him up,” my big sister said after my third-grade boyfriend told me I looked like a ugly monkey when I went to school wearing my first pair of glasses. I’d come home crying. She was in the sixth grade and she didn’t play.
“Take deep long breaths—that’s what I do. Everything will be okay,” my younger sister said. I was staying with her after a traumatic event. My anxiety passed and I slept soundly that night.
“What am I going to do when you’re not here?” My baby sister and I were lying on the bed, face to face, talking before I moved away. That sister bond does not break.
“I do,” he said. “I do,” I said.
It was June and despite the fact it was normally hotter than two hellz in Memphis, that early summer evening was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. No humidity, a slight breeze and temps in the high 70s. The rest, as they say, is history.
The thing about words, conversations, sentiments expressed from one human being to another is this: They stick. They matter. They travel out, ripple and change lives. We carry the feelings we get from them and we give it to someone else.
Even traumatic and painful conversations can come to mind, I think, when we need to feel that again, revisit that lesson or guide someone else through something similar.
When we remember those special conversations, we are right back at that place with that person or persons. It’s kind of like magic, isn’t it?
And to All a Good Night
That’s what this time of year is about—the things, people and places that we love to love. Whether your loved ones are here, far way or in another plane of existence, I hope that the memories you make are good, warm ones that you’ll carry and give to someone else.
In that spirit, let’s start a conversation–what are some of your memorable ones?
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone.
“They stick. They matter. They travel out, ripple and change lives.”—Yes, I love how you put that. Words can stay with us forever, and they can hurt or they can heal. We must be mindful of what we put out there.
Happy Holidays to you, Brigitte!
I so agree with you Carrie—about all of us being mindful of what we put out there—thank you.
Always wonderful to see you here and I hope you and your family have a beautiful holiday season and a very Happy New Year.
A brilliant weaving of life and this holiday. Love it … and all the best holiday wishes to you! … (My holiday post should be up sometime tomorrow morning).
Frank! Thank you—that means a lot coming from you. Surely you have some slice of life wisdom to give—a conversation you’ve had with someone? I guess I’m just going to have to wait until I read your post tomorrow. :). They (your posts) are always informative and inspiring.
I hope you and yours are enjoying a spectacular holiday season.
Just good to see you pop your head out on these pages. After all, that’s a way of conversation.
As you know, my posts are all over the topical map – but I think you will greatly enjoy the beach walk series.
“All over the place” is a good thing Frank. 😊
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you. It keeps me fresh.
remembering conversations are like magic- I love this special post, B. You weave through the touching relationships and soft words so wonderfully. Often times it is the simple,one or two thoughts that delve so deeply into us,and you captured it– spot on.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!
You are too kind, A. I hope to read more of your magic soon and into 2018. I hope that you and your lovely family have the best Christmas, season and here’s to 2018—it’s going to be great, right? xoxo
You and me both, girlfriend. Like that little girl in the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, just repeat over and over: I believe, I believe, I believe…
Words are powerful, Brigitte, and you do a great job of weaving them together. We utter so many millions in our lives that most just flutter away. But some have tremendous staying power, helping to shape who we are.
Happy holidays to you! And a great 2018. –Curt
Hi Curt. Yes, they certainly are and thank you for your lovely words—they mean a lot. Happy holidays to you and your lovely wife and family. And, here’s to a great 2018!!!
Words can mean so much and words can hurt so much I remember as a child when people would say the old sticks and stones saying it pissed me off because words can indeed hurt a lot. I try to say nice things and used kind words more then unkind words. I hope you have a wonderful, happy safe Christmas and feel loved and appreciated.
Hi Joanne. I agree! That old saying never made sense to me either. Words have weight, don’t they? I think if we all try to do that – use kind instead of unkind – things can only improve. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas too. 😊
Happy New Year, Brigitte! As much as the content of a conversation can be impactful, the way words are said can also carry a significant weight. As they say, it’s not what you say, but how you say it that can often make or break a relationship. I think the best kinds of conversations are the ones that manage to strike the right balance between the what and the how. Many of my close friends are not geographically near me, but the times we do get to talk, it’s like no time has passed. 🙂 Hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and cheers to a great new year ahead!
Happy New Year to you Lillian! Isn’t that the truth about how the way words are said…that’s why feelings can be misconstrued via just text at times, our shortened way of communicating now. Without adding the emoticons, something meant to inspire laughter can be interpreted as the opposite! And, those that you can pick right back up where you left off, those types of friendships are not just a matter of communication verbally but through the heart and soul as well. Like that one soul connecting to another thing that is so wondrous and beautiful, and really miraculous.
Here’s to 2018—let’s just say it’s going to be a great one!! Thank you Lillian.