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"Empty Words"

Talkin' about words is nothin' peculiarly peculiar for me. Most of my stories has got somethin' nor other to do with one kind a' word or another.

I reckon words has got such special import to me is on account of how so few of the folks I knows uses them proper like. I don't mean book-learning kind a' proper, 'cause I ain't got much of that my own self.

The proper I refers to has got more to do with usin' words what honestly says what is in your head, or your heart, or whatever part of you is doin' the talking on the occasion of the confab.

It pleases my heart to hear a folk when they talks from real deep down inside of them. I might not cotton to what they is sayin', but the words has got to be true 'cause they ain't been filtered by the head.

The kind of words what come to my attention in the past while is words of politeness, like "Good Mornin'," an' "How do you do?" an' "Thank ya' kindly."

Now, I knows what you is thinkin'. They is nothin' wrong in this world with such words as I has spoke above. And I am agreeable. I uses them most all the time my own self. The troublesome thought what I has come to think on is how the words is as often as not hollow as a log. Even when I says them my own self. An' that is a thing of misery to have to tell about one's self.

I'll give you a fer instance, the very one what brung all this thinkin' about in the first place.

Yesterday I was strolling along the boardwalk front of the Mercantile when Mrs. Tuttle come sashaying the other direction. As I usually does, I tips my hat and says, "Howdy do, Mrs. Tuttle." And, as I feared she might, Mrs. Tuttle latches on to my arm an' commences to inform me of all her latest ailments, her gran'childrens's most newest antics, an' other such things what popped into her head.

In the twixt of which, that is, for the hour or there abouts I was hindered, I begun to have thoughts about my own self. I thunk about what I done said what caused me to be in such a predicament.

It were my words what caused it. I had gone and asked her how she was doin'. I might could have said "what's new" an' got caught in the same pickle jar. I thunk how what my honest intent to say was "Good Mornin'," or some other such in-passing sociality what requires no amenities.

Hollow words. That's what got me goin' here.

"I thank ya' kindly" is one such bunch of words what has no meaning. I uses them all the time, and mostly never even gives thought to what I has said, or for why I has said it. Onlyest thing I recollect is that I has closed the debt I owed by tossin' out a spackling of words what cost me nothin'.

A fer instance example is this here quilty bedspread my Auntie Maybelle done give me. A fine woman folk is my Auntie, and a finer quilter there isn't one on this whole island, maybe even the whole world for all I knows. Lots of thoughtfulness was stitched into that there quilt. Pieces of old dresses an' shirts worn by kinfolks what has passed on, an' even a dab or two of a blanket what I was swaddled in as a newborn'd.

An' the time itself what she must a took to stitch up all those itty-bitty pieces. Must a took a year or two, I'm a thinkin'.

Love is what was sewed into every little piece of that there quilt, nothin' less. An' what'd she get fer it? "Thank ya' kindly Auntie," is what she got. Three words what closed the debt, an' I takes the quilt an' goes my way, never to give it a thought.

Well, that ain't exacital true, not for me it ain't no how. I is thinkin' on it now. An' I thinks on it on those chilling nights when I is bundled up in it.

An' it's not like I is the only one Auntie Maybelle has gone an' made such a quilt for. She has got way too much love to spread fer just the one. No sir-ree-bob. Lots a' folks done got one. I shudders to think on what is done by lots a' folk what has gotten one from Auntie. Oh, they tosses out the words, the "thank ya's" an' other such gratuitous words what is expected on such occasions. Politeness is spread like fertilizer all abouts.

But when Auntie Maybelle is gone, those folks think no more of that there fine quilt but to stow it back somewheres out of sight, or gives it to someone for which it weren't intended, or sells it to some stranger.

Not all folks does such, mind you. My Mammy fer instance, she done hanged hers on a wall. Says it were too purty an' full of love to do nothin' else with it.

An' it sure makes Auntie Maybelle's eyes turn bright as firebugs when she visits and spys it hanging there so special-like.

They is another thing or two what troubles me when I tosses out a "Thank ya," when all I has gived is words and nothin' what gives the words meaning. I feels like a hypercrite I think it is. Thinkin' better on it, I think the word is hyp-o-crite. Whatever is the word, I feels like I is lying through my teeth. Some folks calls it "two-faced," an' the Indians here abouts calls it talking with two tongues.

Anyways, I feels bad when I says a word an' don't full well mean all I say.

Peculiar things, words is. The Good Lord say they is like a sword. I knows some folks what has been cut up purty badly with harsh words. And I knows some other folks what has been comforted with kindly words in times of neediness. Kindly words has comforted me on occasion, and I likes to think maybe a word or two I have spoke has been a comfort to some other folk.

But that Word-Sword is double sided. It cuts one way, and it cuts another besides. And I'm thinkin' that if a feller ain't careful with the way he swings that sword about, he is likely to cut his self purty badly. And the beside of which, that there sword is in a fellers mouth, which is a nasty place to get all cut up, I'm a reckoning.

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