During a visit to our friend’s home in Canada, we were welcomed with a wonderful breakfast. But my six-year-old daughter was not impressed.
"Your pancakes are smaller than my mom’s," she told him.
He replied, "That’s because of the exchange rate."
My mother, a meticulous housekeeper, often lectured my father about tracking dirt into the house. One day he came in to find her furiously scrubbing away at a spot on the floor and launching into a lecture.
"I don’t know what you’ve brought in," she said, "but I can’t seem to get this out."
He studied the situation for a moment and, without a word, moved a figurine on the window-sill where the sun was streaming in. The spot immediately disappeared.
The 104-year-old building that had served as the priory and primary student residence of the small Catholic university where I work was about to be demolished. As the wrecker’s ball began to strike, I sensed the anxiety and sadness experienced by one of the older monks whose order had founded the college.
"This must be difficult to watch, Father," I said. "The tradition associated with that building, the memories of all the students and monks who lived and worked there. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you."
"It’s worse than that," the monk replied. "I think I left my Palm Pilot in there."