What a beautiful world
April 2, 2003
We used to do this “family whistle” growing up, when we went to museums, or on vacations, or ski trips. It was in case you thought you might have gotten separated from your mom or dad.
You could give the whistle, and they’d give it back and you’d know you were OK. Our mother, Phoebe, treated everyone she met as part of her family, so if you’d like to try it, it goes like this: “Whui, whui, whoo, whui whui …”
More recently, when she and I’d be driving down to Carbondale’s Heritage Park, or up to Aspen on the way home, our mother would be looking out the windows of my Jeep and she’d say, “It’s a beautiful world.”
She watched a lot of TV these past couple of years, keeping up on world events. And on occasion she’d ask, “How do you think the president is doing?” And I’d say, “All right I guess, but it’s really hard to tell …” And so on.
You see, I’d gotten to know the reason for the question by this time. She was asking me to at least think about the world and try to make a contribution to it.
I’ve thought this much since I last talked with her: She was possibly the nicest person any of us has known. And if we were all as nice to each other as she was to many of us, maybe wars would be a thing of the past.
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Maybe another word for “nice,” that we can add to the world’s languages, should be “Phoebe.”
It would mean, to be “difficult” sometimes, yes. But, with the proper effort, always nice.
Concentrate on that. And see if that doesn’t work for us the way it worked for her.