Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Papa, I Can Hear You

Although he died while I was still in high school, my maternal grandfather, whom we called Papa, has been with me every day for a fortnight.

Several times a day, he has been telling me, "Be pa-tickler".

It was his favorite thing to say to us "grandchillun" as we left his country store in 1960s and early 1970s Wicksburg, AL. Translated from the Wiregrass dialect of that region, it becomes "Be particular". It is a deceptively simple admonishment.

Soberly, I have pondered his advice and why he has chosen this time to advise me.

Papa, I think I understand.

"Be pa-tickler" is the opposite of "Don't discriminate". It tells me to be discerning about everything that I do; it is an antidote to relativism. When the radio, the TV, the movies, the internet all scream, "Anything goes," Papa whispers:

"Be pa-tickler."

No comments: