Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou has for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.Clara H. Scott
Enter Ethel and Billy. As Dalton’s folks, they were loves of my life. As individuals they were much more captivating apart than together. The painful truth became clear when around their 50th wedding anniversary, in the nick of free time; they went their separate ways.
It was twenty years ago now, when I opened a kitchen cabinet while visiting Ethel’s condo that I found enough jars of a particular mayo to last the rest of her life. “Ethel?” I said. “Well….,” she said, “If there is one good thing that Billy did… he discovered Deep South Mayonnaise while at The Jitney….. tastes like homemade.”
In that moment, I could do nothing else, but run for pad and pencil. Such a comment could not be allowed to pass into oblivion without documentation. It was just too heartbreakingly apropos.
I highly recommend this exquisite RX from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings (voices of friends and movies) have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”
And so it began. The inscription on the first page of my little black journal reads: “These sayings have been treasured by me. From 2000 to 2020. Witnessed by Roben McKnight Mounger. “
By providence along the same time, my housekeeper asked me if I knew that we were all writing our own Bibles. What? “Truer than you know,” I countered as I scurried into my office to commit her wit to paper.
Even last week I told Dalton that if I leave the building before he, he is welcome to use the pages of my treasured quotation book for kindling. After all, the content of the collective may not be of value to others as it is to me.
In the process, I found that this idiocentric practice has a genetic component. My Jackson, Mississippi Great-Grandmother Carlene Cater Blanks also recorded such detailed minutiae. When my father presented her journal to me, I held my breath for the familial golden ankh.
But sadly no. A much more accomplished woman than I, my MeMa choose to record an approach to life which lined up with the saccharin sweetness that she prayed would provide immediate entry into the Pearly Gates.
Still since this is the week of giving gifts, I’ll employ my heritage and be sweet in order to share a quote or thirty that I’ve logged as I’ve sashayed.
Pretend that I gave you a clue to the riddle that you’ve been unraveling for a very long time. Here we go:
- 1. Thank you, God, that we could get up in our right minds. Columbia Commissioner Eugene Richardson prayer.
- 2. I know many useless things. Book Club Friend
- 3. Spread the table and the quarrel will end. Hebrew Proverb
- 4. Sometimes the cure requires surrender. Reverend Joe Evans
- 6. Sometimes it makes me a little nervous to go on the slides. Dalton Weprin, age 3
- 6. It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. Harry Truman
- 7. I’m saddled with a secret. Friend
- 8. No one is you and that is your secret. Joseph Cook
- 9. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Michael Pollen
- 10. It hurts when I argue with reality. Byron Katie
- 11. The greatest teacher failure is. Yoda
- 12. I was distracted by my own cleavage. Friend
- 13. There is no greater pleasure than a bag of books. Dalton Mounger
- 14. The question is not what you look at but what you see. Henry David Thoreau
- 15. When a child walks in the room does your face light up? Toni Morrison
- 16. If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself. A Course in Miracles
- 17. Eat your cake and work hard and what happens, happens. Bob McKnight
- 18. Forgive everybody everything. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- 19. Suspense is the only reason for living. Friend
- 20. Why is everyone saying that I’m almost in kindergarten? I’m only 4 and it is a long winter. Elodie Weprin
- 21. A prophet is not a man who tells the future; he is a man who tells the truth. Harold Kusher
- 22. No one knows enough to be pessimistic. Wayne Dyer
- 23. Life has been generous to me in its variety. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
- 24. Pain that is not transformed is transmitted. David Brooks
- 25. If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should have behaved better. Anne Lamont
- 26. By not dominating the master leads. Tao Te Ching
- 27. Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working. Henri Matisse
- 28. Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything – real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can’t get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you’re in for the ride of your life. Bob Diamond in Defending Your Life
- 29. Jesus touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.”
- 30. Dear God, Thank you for my friends. Melvin
- 31. The love of a friend is something that constantly has to be woven. You can’t let it go and then say, “Hi.” Diane Wiest
- 32. That’s the kind of hairpin I am. Roben Mounger (& Biff Grimes in The Strawberry Blonde)