Decoding the Love: “Cynthia knows her weeds.”
For those of The Old School--such as my father--praise and expressions of love aren't given casually or lavishly. I can count on one hand the times my father has said in words that he loves me. He shows his love through actions.
When praise comes, prick up your ears. It might come in ways you'd never hear if you didn't know how to recognize and decode the love. Here's one of those stories.
My cousin Cynthia came out to help my father weed. Our gardens had gone wild. Cynthia worked hard enough and long enough to work up a sweat and get mud on her hands and knees. She and my father came in for a break and a glass of water.
My father said, "Cynthia really knows her weeds." Meaning that she knew a weed from a flower or other plants. And that she knew the names of the weeds. She'd learned from her mother, my Aunt Grace. My father's five simple words said volumes. He respects hard work. He respects people who know how to do things and do them without fuss.
This is what old-fashioned Midwestern love and praise sound like. In California where I used to live the praise would be heaped on lavishly, perhaps to the gushing point, and lasted for at least the length of a double-spaced typed page. But, my father's terse praise was none the less for it.
My cousin Cynthia and I knew this. We knew how to decode the love. This short sentence has become one of those shorthands between friends. We say it to one another and the giggle our heads off.
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