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Words Remembered

What are the quotes that bring you joy?  That keep you balanced, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? That have become family sayings? 

            I could fill this column and several more with quotes from a folder on my computer and a list in notes on my phone and a spiral notebook where I’ve scribbled and another notebook labeled “Our Grands Say….”  Most everyone has a list of quotes – maybe not written, but remembered – that you’ve collected through life’s experiences.  Hopefully, if you’ve written them, you have them in one place, and someday, I might get around to doing that.

            Last week I shared words from Dr. Suess’s book, The Cat in a Hat: Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.  And I thought about the many words I’ve read and heard and copied and remembered that have shaped my life.     

            Years ago, my dear friend Mary Jo who is now 96, told me that her Grandmother Hill often said, “Hope for the best.  Prepare for the worse and gratefully accept what the good Lord sends you.  Not just accept, but gratefully accept.”

            I’ve never tired of hearing Mary Jo repeat her grandmother’s words, over and over. Every time she pauses, tucks her chin, cocks her head, and opens her eyes wide before saying, “Not just accept, but gratefully accept.”  Then she takes a deep breath, draws herself up tall in her chair and smiles. 

            When I’ve told Mary Jo about my plans or disappointments, she’s reminded me of Grandmother Hill’s words and encouraged me to hope and prepare and accept.  Through the years, that advice has been a guide for everything:  Monday morning 6th grade math lessons and Daughter’s wedding and two knee replacements and vacations and even a two-hour playtime with Grands.

            Another favorite quote deals with my need to be more patient.  As a teacher, I forced myself, after asking a question, to count to sixty or watch the second hand (yes, there was an analog clock in my classroom).  Giving students time to think and formulate an answer was needed, but I wanted quick responses.  And now, I sometimes finish sentences for other people and then have to apologize for interrupting.

            I’m most impatient waiting for my body to heal.  A cold should be gone in a day.  Knee replacements should have healed within weeks.  A recent bout of Covid and flu a month later pushed my limits. My impatience while working hard to rehab after a knee replacement led me to copy Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words: Adopt the patience of nature; her secret is patience. 

            From my notebook of my Grands’ sayings, I love what Henry said when he was 5 years old and saw an airplane in the sky. “Birds and planes and helicopters and magical reindeer – that’s all that can fly.”  That’s all.  Henry captured nature, science, and magic in a few words.

            During this year, I’ll pull out a few other favorite quotes to write about and hopefully you’ll share your favorites.


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