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Children are good for spontaneous good lines. They pop them out without any prompting. For instance, one evening my husband and I were trying to get two of our granddaughters to agree on a restaurant. Finally, we chose a restaurant one girl liked, the one the other girl didn’t, simply to end the arguing and get to the food. As the unhappy granddaughter started walking out the backdoor to leave for the restaurant, she proclaimed, “I’m just going to waste food.” Obviously…a statement of fact. We could take her there, order food for her, but we couldn’t make her eat it.
Another good line spontaneously came out of my middle son’s mouth in response to candles in my husband’s and my bedroom. When my children were young my husband and I were always trying to infuse a little fun in everyday life. We’d have hamburgers for breakfast, pancakes for dinner, and other not terribly imaginative things that nonetheless brought smiles to our kids’ faces. Another thing we did was set candles on the table and light them for breakfast or dinner. That was a big hit. One night my husband and I brought some of the candles in the bedroom for a bit of romantic “interaction.” We left them on a desk in the bedroom after that night. One afternoon soon after, my middle son came home from school and found me in the bedroom folding clothes. He saw the candles on the desk. His face filled with indignation, and he said, “You used candles without us?”
Children and money can make a stranger than fiction situation. Among our family members, growing up involved learning to budget. The children resisted this procedure. They clearly knew much more than my husband did when it came to using money. When they went away to college and marriage after college, they discovered some things about their parents that had escaped their attention all their young lives. One, as my youngest son said, “A home cooked meal is like aahhh.” A very succinct but eloquent line coming from a college freshman getting accustomed to cafeteria food. But this child also gave his father this line as he prepared to help fund a wedding. “Dad, you were right. Savings add up and do help.” It was truly hard not to laugh at his discovery.
Church may be a place from which great lines emerge, not counting those quoted from the Bible. In the church I was raised in, the preacher always invited the congregation to stand up and share something they needed prayer about or a bit of inspiration they’d come across. One woman shared that she’d made a pie and while eating it bit down on a cherry pit – a never failer. She told the congregation that life is like a cherry pie. There’s always a never failer, a bump in the road, a challenge, a cherry pit in the pie.
Books and movies are excellent sources for great lines. Here are a few, including one from Always and Forever Love.
I felt as tough as Kleenex. Greywalker by Kat Richardson
“Hi, Uncle Jake.”
Jason’s greeting jolted Lacey out of her skin. Retreat was impossible. She turned to face the square shoulders, tall frame, and solid jaw of a dark-haired man. “Uncle Jake, I presume?” She wasn’t doing anything wrong, so why did she feel as though Brad Pitt had just caught her picking her nose? Always and Forever Love
"Here I am, ready to charge forth in pursuit of my destiny and I can't get time off work to do it." Roy McAvoy to Romeo in Tin Cup
"I'm no expert here, but it seems to me that the pursuit of destiny isn't something you need to get off a $10 per hour job to do." Romeo
Whether scripted in a movie or written in the text of a book, great lines can make us ponder, laugh, and cry. But those that pop out of human mouths, spontaneous and impulsive, can stop us in the moment and stay with us to savor as a part of life.
What are some lines and phrases you've read or heard, fiction or real life, that made you smile or set off a tuning fork in your heart or that left some sort of impact on your life?