I've been thinking a lot lately about people I know and/or knew. One that keeps returning to me is my grandpa, Pearl. It's funny, but I can't remember a thing he ever said to me, except that he called me Suzie Q. Still, even though I was about 8 when he died, and was several years younger than that when he was healthy and mobile, I remember his face and how he made me feel. It must've been some blessed talent he possessed to make a tiny girl child feel loved and secure, without words or hugs. The man wasn't physically affectionate, as far as I know.
To me, he seemed very tall. I have no idea how tall he actually was. He was more than likely of Appalachian stock, as he looked exactly like those skinny moonshiners from the hills. Thin, sharp face, all brown and leathery from the sun. Always had gray stubble making his face appear more rough than it was. I don't believe I ever saw him wear anything but overalls. I doubt he went to high school, and I know grandma didn't. So, we have this Scot/Irish/Cherokee tobacco farmer in Kentucky with a volatile (that's another story and before my time) wife who either developed or always possessed a vast amount of patience and love. I'm pretty sure I never heard him raise his voice or appear angry in any way. I'm sure conversations between him and his 6 year old grandchild were of no vast importance, but when I think of his face and the way he walked from house to barn, all I can feel is the knowledge that a very good man loved and valued me.
So, it's not what you know that gives you the ability to make a positive impact. And, eventually, it's not what you say that is of the most import. It's how you make someone feel that is remembered most clearly. So, maybe I need to practice being more like Pearl. It's a good name for a man who gleams in my memory.