I read an essay, Lessons Beyond Words by Darren Yourk, on the Globe and Mail website. It’s subtitled, While thrashing me at Scrabble, Grandma did more than expand my vocabulary. She shared our family’s story. Yourk’s piece is both humorous and touching. Here’s an excerpt:
I grew to accept Grandma handing me a humbling vocabulary lesson as a regular part of every trip north to visit. I took solace in the fact my lexicon was expanding with every thrashing, adding words such as purl (a knitting stitch), thatch (a roof made of straw or reeds) and trivet (a metal stand for a hot dish or kettle).
Over time I began to realize she was giving history lessons, too, filling in the blanks of my family’s past with vivid tales that left me wide-eyed or roaring with laughter. A single game often lasted more than an hour, the time between turns stretched by memories.
All around us are opportunities to tap into the rich reservoir of our family stories. We just have to ask. We can start the conversation with our elders over a card game, a meal, or a walk. And if we can record these at the same time, even better.
You can read or listen to an audio version of Lessons Beyond Words by clicking here.
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Photo by Rach Hutchinson