The Word is Yes
“Yeah, I know,” she giggled as she persisted in holding the bongos just out of my reach.
“Well, he said he’d play the bongos for sixty seconds, right? Isn’t that what word means?”
“No, Mom,” She explained, “‘Word’ means do you really mean it?”
“Mean what?” I asked.
“Mean it’s only for sixty seconds?” she clarified.
“Oh, so ‘word’ is another word for promise? As in do I promise that it will only take sixty seconds?”
By then, I was pretty frustrated, but it was hard to tell exactly what I was most upset about: a) That “word” alone without “of honor” as in “word of honor” might make it into the Thesaurus as a synonym for promise; b) I was way behind on my teenaged lexicon; c) Lucy was much taller than me; or, d) All of the above. I was just about to give up when Lucy gleefully announced, “I’ll play the bongos for you!”
I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Oh really? Word?”
“Oh God, Mom!” she retorted.
For a long moment, Lucy and I fiercely gazed at each other while Skye studied his shoes. The air was dead. Then Lucy launched into a passionate bongo performance. I wanted to say yes, but what came out of my mouth instead was: a) Tonight there will be no literal yarn slinging; b) Or bongo playing; c) Thank you very much and d) Be home by eleven o’clock. I gently pried the bongos from Lucy’s grasp and, happily, we all went our separate ways. Much later on I would discover that I was practically the only person on earth who was unaware of the meaning of “word.”