One of the ladies I visit for the Newton Church is a natural born story-teller. In her ninety-forth year she no longer holds on to details about the day, frequently forgetting what day of the week it is. But her memory is clear about her past, or so it seems. Her daughter I’ve noticed, sometimes dismisses her Mom’s stories – I know that may well be because she has heard them so many times. On the other hand, I love her stories. I don’t know anyone else who can tell stories in such a way that I am there, hearing the conversational exchanges of the players in her stories.
The other day when I visited she told me about a time that her mother had chastised her for embellishing. She said she didn’t even know what it meant – but she asked her friend Mary. (“Mary has been my best friend since first grade, and she was always a little smarter than me.”) She said Mary told her that embellishing means “adding to” – a kind of expanding a bit on the facts around a particular situation. And then, good friend that Mary was, she added “You can’t help embellishing. You don’t really mean to do it. It’s just who you are!”
I cannot judge whether or not that story is real. I don’t know if Mary really was smarter than my friend or if this conversation ever took place. But I do know this: the story is true. She is an embellisher, always in my experience an embellisher of good or the humorous. And it is simply, who she is.