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Stingy with Words

It may be that praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value to its scarcity, as Samuel Johnson said, but most of us would prefer to err on the side of giving too much praise than too little. One who would agree was the wife of an old Vermonter named Eb.

Old Eb was, like many of his breed, rather stingy with words. He said very little, and then rather grudgingly. One evening he was sitting on the front steps with his wife. The long day’s work, the good supper, and the peaceful sights and sounds of dusk must have softened him up. He took his pipe out of his mouth and said, “When I think of what you’ve meant to me all these years, Judith, sometimes it’s almost more than I can stand not to tell you.”

Bits and Pieces, October, 1989, p. 8