Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I love words. My mother loved words. She raised me to adore shades of meaning, flavors and colors of words. And I passed that love on to my older daughter. As a child she would ask me what a particular word meant, and then she would find a word in the definition that she didn't know, so we had to look that up, and then suddenly bedtime was postponed for at least another half-hour as we followed thread after delicious thread through my well-loved Webster's Collegiate.

Words: smooth, silky, crunchy, juicy, rich with meaning, heavy with history. When I worked in a library I had this quote posted next to my desk:

What can I say? I'm a word nerd.

Last night, as we sat around a fire pit on my daughter's driveway, greeting trick or treaters, we enjoyed conversations with kids and parents as they came by. It was an opportunity for my daughter and her husband to do more meeting and greeting with folks in their neighborhood than they had in the last year.

In one such conversation the subject of professions came up. "What do you do?" My daughter asked.

"I'm a lexicographer," she replied. "I write dictionaries."

She needn't have explained. At the word "lexicographer" my daughter and I had both squealed with delight. You would have thought she had told us she was from the Publisher's Clearing House Prize Patrol.

"A lexicographer! That's so cool!"

A brief conversation ensued about how much we love words.

It was a perfect evening around the fire pit. The weather was just cool enough to be Fall. The leaves were crisp and crunchy underfoot. We greeted tiny trick-or-treaters, family groups, teens with their friends. The scent of the fire brought back memories of Halloweens past.

When I arrived back at home I realized I had never taken any candy. The treat for me was the experience itself: spending time with family, drinking hot cider by the fire, talking about words.

Oh, how I love words.

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