Moved to tears?

Tears are in the news, Hillary Clinton’s choked moment credited with turning around the result of the New Hampshire primary. I’m not sure I believe that. More likely that the media need a quick explanation for a result so different from all their predictions.

When were you last moved to tears? It nearly happened to me at lunchtime today. I’d opened a tin of salmon and was suddenly taken back to my Grandma’s kitchen. Tinned salmon was always the centrepiece of ‘high tea’, served with lettuce and hard-boiled egg, and followed by fruit salad, all with bread and butter on the side. My lunch mix was rather different (salmon, sweetcorn, crème fraiche) but eaten with nostalgia.

Incidentally, why in US English, do they talk about ‘fixing’ lunch. It ain’t broke. UK English isn’t always helpful either. There’s a scene from some old TV show (or Carry On film?) where a hapless Brit abroad is trying to get a tin of ham through Customs. “Look”, he says, pointing to the label “it’s just ham, it says there, 100% pork, finest quality, cured in Scotland.” “Cured?” says the official, disbelievingly; “Was it sick?”

Proust famously wrote about the power of a scent to evoke memory. So it’s appropriate that my most powerful experience of this links to France. When I left home for the first time, to spend a year as an au pair in Normandy, I packed a big bottle of Boots No7 moisturiser. Obviously the idea that France might be a good place to buy that kind of thing hadn’t occurred to me. Now if I smell anything like that moisturiser, it takes me right back to my late teens with a shiver (my chateau bedroom was much less cosy than home).

Back in the USA, it’s exciting to see the emotions from both candidates and voters about the elections. With only 2 states decided, there are plenty more cheers and tears to come.


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