Friday, 9 January 2009

A very nice paragraph

Somewhat overly legibly, I wrote on a sheet of paper, 'We're held up indefinitely by the parade. We're going to find a phone and have a cold drink somewhere. Will you join us?' I folded the paper once, then handed it to the Matron of Honour, who opened it, read it, and then handed it to the tiny old man. He read it, grinning, and then looked at me and wagged his head up and down several times vehemently. I thought for an instant that this was the full and perfectly eloquent extent of his reply, but he suddenly motioned to me with his hand, and I gathered that he wanted me to pass him my pad and pencil. I did so - without looking over at the Matron of Honour, from whom great waves of impatience were rising. The old man adjusted the pad and pencil on his lap with greatest care, then sat for a moment, pencil poised, in obvious concentration, his grin diminished only a very trifle. Then the pencil began, very unsteadily, to move. An 'i' was dotted. And then both pad and pencil were returned personally to me, with a marvellously cordial extra added wag of the head. He had written, in letters that had not quite jelled yet, the single word 'Delighted.' The Matron of Honour, reading over my shoulder, gave a sound faintly like a snort, but I quickly looked over at the great writer and tried to show by my expression that all of us in the car knew a poem when we saw one, and were grateful.

from Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by JD Salinger