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Gentle Virtues


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11/01/2011 - Recently I cooked the rice in too much water, knocked the dog dish over on the clean kitchen floor, put my watch on upside down and forgot to give my hubby his thermos of coffee. If that wasn't enough, I also forgot to take all of his work pants out of the washing machine and put them in the dryer. We discovered this just minutes before he had to set out the door to lead a safety meeting. Thankfully, he and our son are the same size so I swiped a good pair from our son's closet. Whew! Give me a little time and you will see my humanness come out.

Just the other day, for the fun of it, I sat down with my "1828", that is the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language and read various quotes Noah Webster used in his definitions. My heart swelled with Addison's quote: "His air, his voice, his looks and honest soul, speak so movingly in his behalf." (movingly, def.l) Addison swelled my heart all the more with his next statement: "Let us remember we are Cato' s friends, and act like men who claim that glorious title." (glorious, def.2) Then Dryden had to crash in on our party with "He frets, he fumes, he stares, he stamps the ground." (fret, def. 4) Ah, well. Back to reality.

Even the great ones understand human limitations. Under the word "out", definition 14, Shakespeare pens a humble confession. "I have forgot my part, and I am out." His characters, as well as his life, reflected being human. In the preface of the "1828", Noah Webster confessed "This Dictionary, like all others of the kind, must be left, in some degree, imperfect; for what individual is competent to trace to their source, and define in all their various applications, popular, scientific and technical, sixty or seventy thousand words!" Even my beloved role model was human.

Look with me at the word "human". One letter can be added to it. It is the letter "e", making the word humane. In our human state let us remember to be humane, that is to have the "feelings and disposition proper to man", to have "tenderness, compassion, and a disposition to treat others with kindness particularly in relieving them when in distress."

Let's face it, today someone may cut you off in traffic. If so, cut them some slack. Someone may even hurt you with a cutting remark. Be humane and cut them some slack. They are human. We're all human. Before long, you will need the favor returned to you.

One last thing. Ladies, before retiring for the night, please check your washing machine. I will do the same.

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