For years, self-help books have claimed that women talk more than men. The statistic most cited was 20,000 words spoken per day by women verses 7,000 for the guys. Perhaps what was once true is no longer the case, for in today’s world of technology and with both sexes in the workforce, most new statistics are claiming men and women are more equally matched around 16,000 words a day.
One thing remains the same: when a good man speaks, people listen.
I’m one of the lucky few who have been surrounded by good men all my life. I have a gentle father, a kind husband, even a thoughtful father-in-law, and well, one of my grandfathers commanded attention for more storied reasons (There’s one in every family, right?).
Bob Huddy is my husband’s grandfather. He’s a veteran Marine of the Korean War, retired plant manager of the paper mill, and as kind as his grandson. The avid fisherman has welcomed me onto his boat several times, teaching me the art of crappie fishing amongst Floridian lily pads and sunbathing alligators.
His boat leaves the dock early, stocked with live bait and Little Debbie’s. The quiet mornings last well into hot afternoons, only with interruptions of the frequent catch or a heron siting. As Bob sat perched at the front of his boat one morning, skin brown from days on the lake, my husband broke the silence.
“Papaw, you’re out here all day by yourself. What do you think about?”
I heard somewhere that generals in World War II were told to start smoking, that being able to pause and light or puff a cigarette gave them time to collect their thoughts before speaking. Anticipation made men eager to hear their leader.
Without need of a smoke, Bob cast his line with perfect precision into the pads. And we waited.
“Well, bud, I’m just thinking about where the next fish is gonna be.”
Those good men know the value of keeping it simple.
They teach a man (or gal) to fish, or ride a bike, or swim, and they do so in few words. My dad taught me how to order hash browns at the Waffle House and how to hit the inside pitch in wiffleball. He also taught me to always believe the best about people and to give to those in need… in several short and sweet conversations.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the great men-of-few-words in my life!
Neena Gaynor is a Kentucky wife, mother, daughter and beekeeper who does life in Owensboro. She also writes on her blog at www.wordslikehoney.com. and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.