Friday, July 04, 2008

Watch Out Bartlett's Here I Come

While I am not completely sure, I do not believe that you have to be dead to be quoted in Bartlett's Famous Quotations. I feel pretty confident that there have been many folks whose words were included while they were very much alive. I”m pretty sure that such worthy notables like Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II were surely added to Bartlett's tome while they were still with us.

I would never dare to include my words of wisdom among those I just named, nor would I put myself on the plain as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Howard Hughes or Hugh Hefner. Put me on the list of those who agree that these people, along with Alice Toklas, Carrie Nation and
Shirley Temple-Black all had some important things to say and they should have been written down for the generations to come. I know that more than once I've thrown an extra log on the Internet to see if Van Gogh said anything that I might find of interest, as I recall, he did.

I told a fellow outside of a local church once, “The best things are learned on sidewalks, at dinner tables and in grocery store lines.” With all humbleness, I would like to believe that my statement just might be worthy of a place in the archives maintained by the folks at Bartlett's. Frankly, I don't look for them to pick this line up and call me for confirmation that I did, indeed say it.
There is truth in the statement though. I've learned many things about family history at the dinner table. It was there that I learned family secrets from three and four generations before me.

While standing on the sidewalk I have learned funny jokes. I learned a very important lesson from a four year old who shared with me what the red hand on the crosswalk sign means. (Now he's seen 21 years in the rear view mirror I wonder if he remembers teaching me.) I've learned of the illnesses of friends and their condition while standing on concrete that ran along side a city street.

On the sidewalk I've seen parades go by and it was there that I thought of the quote made by Will Rogers, Jr. who said, “We can't all be heroes because someone has to stand on the sidewalk and clap as they go by.” On sidewalks I've witnessed with joy and sorrow when tolerance of diversity works and fails.

Grocery store lines can be a place where a wealth of knowledge can be gleaned. I'm not talking about what can be read on the cover of the latest tabloid, but what you can learn from those standing in line with you.

About a year ago I was waiting in line at my local grocery store, I had placed my selections on the conveyor belt, provisions for my Sunday dinner, it was a horribly hot and very humid day and there was going to be no cooking in my apartment. The items were: Pickle Loaf, (Yes! Pickle Loaf, at least once a year.), Whole wheat bread with golden flax seed, a very small tomato, a pint of ice cream, (probably Chubby Hubby,) and Ginger Ale.

I heard the man standing behind me say, “Now you know, some folks around here and in fancier grocery stores would make snide remarks about your choices there, but think about it, you have all five of the basic food groups there.” I looked at the items on the belt and thought about there only being four food groups, but before I could say anything he went on, “you got meat, at least they claim pickle loaf has some meat in it, you have whole grain in your bread, a tomato, that's fruit or vegetable and you have ice cream, that's dairy. Then, my friend, you have soda, that's from the most important of the food groups, Junk.”

Before he could finish his statement his wife pushed the grocery cart abruptly into his hip and said, “You know what I've said about talking to strangers in the stores.”
He smiled at her and then continued, “you have all your needs met right there, everything found in once place, all a man needs with the exception of one thing,” he looked at me, then his wife, then me again, “you can't buy love here,” turning again to his wife he said, “can you dear?”

So Bartlett editors, hear my words and record them for posterity, “The best things are learned on sidewalks and at dinner tables and in grocery store lines.”


Post a Comment

<< Home