Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rock, Paper, Scissors

"One great, strong, unselfish soul in every community could actually redeem the world."
-Elbert Hubbard

Spouse and I fondly name our contraptions and utensils. Clothing, furniture and household objects have, over the course of some years, been garnished with familiar and convenient titles. I will speak of only one at this time.
A perfectly fine scissors sits in a kitchen drawer; the arty sort that is used for decorative purposes, that cuts not straight but curly. Let the scissors sit there for a moment; we will return to them.
Last Summer we attended a dear friend's wedding in Maine. Her house at that time had to accommodate eight people, three of them from Germany. The oldest of all, Uncle Heinz, as he was affectionately known, was an extended member of the family. The fellow was reserved and polite at all times. He spoke little English but he indicated as best he could that he was enjoying his visit immensely.
It always strikes my mind just how much meaning can be conveyed without the use of verbal language. It made us long to all speak in one tongue so that we could converse with him and hear some of his stories.
He was, as I said, unassuming and respectful- overly so at times. He was reluctant to ask for anything extra, already feeling as though he were the equivalent of a third wheel in a large house at a tumultuous time.
He wanted to cut his fingernails in preparation for the wedding. He was too shy, too obliging to ask the busy family members for anything with which to perform the operation.
We had, the day previously, been using a special scissors to cut some papers for decoration, to be placed on each table at the wedding reception. That scissors had no straight blade, but one with some odd shapes along its edge to provide curious designs on paper.
Uncle Heinz was discovered just in time, attempting to pair his nails with the curly scissors. Thankfully some good soul rescued him and supplied him with the right tool but several things have emerged from that experience.
We have not yet been able to suppress mirth when imagining poor Uncle Heinz with wavy fingernails at the wedding.
We cannot help but admire the nobility of a man that understood the bride's stress, and wanted to be as little trouble as possible to anybody. He, however, left a fine impression upon all of us.
And lastly, when Spouse and I ask the other to fetch the Uncle Heinz scissors, we know just what it means.

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