Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Speaking, Without Words

Yesterday I came home from Ariel’s music lessons (that girl has to get a driver’s license soon) to find the front lawn littered with massive magnolia branches.

Me: Hmm. Look what Dad did while I was gone.
Ariel: Yeah.

We go into the house, and I find my beloved husband.

Cal smiles. (Now for those of you who haven’t been married for twenty plus years, I will have to interpret.) A smile with a twinkle in the eye means: Neener! Look at what I did while you were gone.

I raise an eyebrow. Translation: You never would have done this if I would have been home because I would have pitched an absolute hissy fit. And I would have been justified in doing so because you were foolhardy! (BTW, if the eyebrow would have been raised a fraction of an inch higher, it would have included an mild accusation of a violation of the 6th commandment—Thou shalt not kill—even yourself, by accident. But the eyebrow didn’t go that high.)

Cal raises the corner of his mouth. Translation: Don’t be a hypocrite, sweetiepie. You would have done the same thing, only you’re too wimpy and can’t move the massive ladder without help.

I wrinkle my brow. Translation: I would NOT have climbed up the ladder, shimmied up the very high pitched roof, and sat on top of the chimney to cut tree branches. (Yes, he really did this.)

Cal raises both eyebrows. Translation: Are you or are you not the woman who stood up on a sled and rode it over a jump that was so dangerous that other parents said to their children, and I quote, “Don’t even think of doing what that woman just did!”

I lick my lower lip. Translation: Okay. I’m guilty as charged, but you should have let me do the climbing since I have much better sense of balance than you do.

Cal’s other eye twinkles. Translation: So, what do you think?

Finally, the conversation becomes verbal once again. I say, “Honey, the tree looks great!”

You too can learn to speak facial expressions—it only takes a couple of decades of marriage. But, I must warn you occasionally the gesture for words method of dialogue can lead to interesting communication errors, and your conversation can morph from the kids need to be hung upside down by their toenails to you did what to the van with a jar of honey?

Here’s a picture of Cal and the tree. Unfortunately, you don't get a sense of the pitch or breadth of the roof that was so extreme that when we had to re-roof several years ago, many roofers weren't even willing to consider our roof once they saw it.

Here’s a picture of some of the beautiful flowers I picked from the chopped down branches. The scent is interesting, sort of like sour oranges.


  1. You know, the only reason Dad raised both eyebrows, instead of just one, is because of his incapability of only raising one. Come to think of it, I don't know if any of the boys can raise just one eyebrow either; I know for a fact Luke can't.

    You and I may be alone in the ability to exectute that feat. Of course, when you raise a single eyebrow, you can only do that with one particular eyebrow. I can do it with either one. You're a right-eyebrowed person while I'm ambidextrously browed. :)

  2. Yes I can, you Dolt.

  3. I know for a fact that Luke can raise one eyebrow. I've seen him do it many a time during Shakespeare Plays. I, too, can raise a single eyebrow. It's a talent I'm very proud of.

    Anyway, what are you guys going to do with the Magnolia Branches now that they've been cut off? Whenever my father sheers our trees of their branches, we always have trouble trying to dispose of them. We usually have to resort to stuffing the branches as tight as we can into our garbage cans.