Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Word Fitly Spoken by Andy Scheer

I often hear the phrase “divine appointment” bandied at writers conferences, taking the narrow view of direct meetings between people.

But the past few days I've received several reminders that divine appointments also apply to interactions with what others have written. And not simply with writing that's supposed to be “spiritual.”

Even with writing in a free community newspaper.

When my granddaughter was less than a year old, her parents spied an article about child safety in The Woodmen Edition. It advised parents to speak out to inform the other when expecting them to watch the child. Ever since, “you've got the tot,” has been their frequent phrase.

Last evening, my daughter asked me how long I thought Juliet, now nearly three, would be “the tot.”

Until she's a teen,” I said, “or at least a tween.”

This weekend I made for the several dozenth time a recipe for microwave scrambled eggs, prepared and cooked in a deep coffee mug. It's given my weekend mornings a far better start, and it's given my mother-in-law the satisfaction that she passed along a useful one-inch clipping from her community's give-away newspaper.

Perhaps someday the writer will produce cookbooks for a big New York House. Meanwhile I'm grateful she sent the recipe to a publisher in Arvada.

The amazing, divine aspect of putting something into print, whether online or to a more formal audience, is that you never know when or how those words will touch a life.

Today at lunch, I encountered in the pages of William Least Heat-Moon's travel book River Horse some amazing perspective for my upcoming cross-country trip with my father-in-law in his 1930 Ford.

But the words aren't his—except his decision to include them. They come from a page of advice to foreign motorists in Japan, creatively translated about the time my father-in-law's Model A was built:

When a passenger of the foot
hove in sight, tootle the horn trumpet
to him melodiously at first.
If he still obstacles your passage,
tootle him with vigour
and express by word of the mouth
the warning “Hi, Hi!”

Beware the wandering horse
that he shall not take fright
as you pass him.
Do not explode
the exhaust box at him.
So soothingly by
or stop by the road-side
till he pass away.

Give big space
to the festive dog
that makes sport
in the road-way.
Avoid entanglement of dog
with your wheel-spokes.

Go soothingly on the grease-mud,
as there lurk the skid demon.
Press the brake of the foot
as you roll round the corners
to save the collapse
and tie-up.

Driving an antique car with wheel spokes, I'll remember to avoid entanglement with festive dogs – and to go soothingly on the grease-mud.

If I'd encountered those words a year ago, I'd likely have passed over them. But today, they pointed to yet another divine appointment.

What words in print have unexpectedly touched your life?


Davalyn Spencer said...

Such good advice for those of us who hurry, hurry. And the translated words have a lilting quality, almost musical, that make me want to slow my hurried pace.

Diana said...

Andy, this is splendid. I have so often laid hold of such 'divine appointments' in a magazine article, or newspaper as well as bulletin boards at my local supermarket. Words fitly shared, indeed. And like Davalyn, I think the writers words seem poetic as well.
Have a great trip!