1000 Words

A picture is worth a thousand words:

My stepfather Ralph Newman was a merry and remarkable man, a former minor league second baseman who broke his nose on a double play ball and wound up opening the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop in Chicago. He was also president of the Chicago Public Library.

Ralph used to huff about that phrase, A picture is worth a thousand words and ask, “Does anyone really stop to figure out what you could do with a thousand words?”

And, rather in the way that my daughters and I trade, try out, and create stories with each other, my stepfather and I spread out a napkin and came up with this:

“One picture is worth a thousand words? You give me a thousand words and I can give you:

The Lord’s Prayer, the Twenty-third Psalm, the Hippocratic Oath, a sonnet by Shakespeare, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the last graphs of Martin Luther King’s speech to the March on Washington, and the final entry of Anne Frank’s diary.

You give me a thousand words, and I don’t think I’d trade you for any picture on earth.”