Monday, October 28, 2013

TURN OF PHRASE



Have you ever been reading along or listening to another talk and suddenly there is a small explosion in your brain as you realize you have just heard a pure, personal truth?  Someone had put into words that which you weren't even aware needed clarification. 

Words that can jar us into a frozen state for a moment as it sinks in, then our head just bobs vigorously in agreement. We know we have seen or heard a truth.  The odd thing is that while some will hear those same words and be moved, hundreds more could hear them and not be effected at all. It is truly a personal thing.

I recently had such a moment while reading "The Rockin' Chair" by Steven Manchester. 



As I read the sample to determine if I wanted the book,  I was quickly hooked. 
The opening pages reminded me a bit of "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks.  

I don't often memorize passages from books but one from "The Notebook" has stayed with me for years.  In the first paragraph, Noah complained about the cold that accompanies the elderly with poor circulation.  His line "I haven't been warm since Reagan was president," made me laugh out loud at first but then I was quickly moved and saddened. 

It was not a political statement but a reference that a lot of time had passed since he had known comfort. I was a sprightly sort who had just turned sixty at the time, but those words touched and stayed with me.  It made me a little more understanding and compassionate about aging as I began looking it in the eye.  

The first chapter of "The Rockin' Chair" exposes the reader to the scrambled thoughts of an old woman in the last stages of Alzheimers.   Then the author takes you into the lives of her dysfunctional family. I sometimes wonder if anyone writes about "functional" families?  

Anyway, the book is about a grandfather's influence in the lives of his only child and his grandchildren.  It is basically how he helps glue back together his family whose severe fracture he had unwittingly caused. 

The turn of phrase that caught me up short came from the granddaughter who is reflecting on her childhood.  Remembering that as a child, she  would be moaning about not having anything to do. She was bored and her beloved grandmother would remind her there was plenty to do outside. Invariably she would get a light swat on the fanny and be sent out the door. 

The granddaughter states that was when she would discover the shapes of clouds, the feel of grass on her bare feet, and a lot of the good things in life. She then simply states what struck a nerve for me. ''When I think about it, I learned all I needed to know on the days there was nothing to do."

My own head eagerly nodded in agreement.  We all have times in our lives when we are not being  entertained, not involved in the lives of others, and not searching for the answers to seemingly unsolvable problems--- those boring times.  They actually are the perfect times to explore and to "see" the truly wonderful things all around us such as the ever amazing surprises in Nature. We just have to look and open our minds. 

I remembered so vividly my own childhood and how a simple walk outdoors to shake off being bored would open so many unexplored avenues and boredom was quickly replaced by curiosity. It still works today but I often forget to use that handy tool.  Those few words made me vow to use my future "bored" times more wisely and to head for the door, not for the refrigerator.

Those words of Steven Manchester may not resonate with you as it did me. As I said, the reaction to a turn of phrase is purely a personal thing. I think that is why a lot of us love quotations but why we don't all love the same ones.  

We marvel when another is able to capture our wayward thoughts and wrap them up neatly in a few sentences so they are clearly understood. Often they capture the universal thoughts, feelings or longings of the many, while other times their words just stir memories in the minds of a few.  

Have a few words or sentences struck a loud chord in  your mind that you still retain long after first hearing them?

By the way, if you like clever, head nodding quotes and don't go there all ready, check out my favorite quotemeister  Robert Brault.   A recent one of his that I enjoyed.  "Ever wonder how a hotel bathroom mirror knows what you will look like in 20 years."  He often makes me smile and my head nods in agreement a lot.

28 comments :

  1. This is very interesting and reflective. I too have phrases or comments that will stick in my mind long after. I just read a book (last week) and still remember the characters as if I knew them personally. It's Jhumpa Lahiri's new book, The Lowlands. Read it if you can. I waited months for it to come from the library and then devoured it in two days. :-)

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  2. You mentioned dysfunctional families vs. functional families.. WELL--are there ANY that are truly 'functional'???? ha ha.. Think there's some dysfunction in each of them somewhere!!!! ha ha

    I love getting out in nature.. Seems to be a cure-all from everything including boredom... Just makes me feel so good!!!

    We were in KY last week with friends. Had a great time other than the fact that it was COLD.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  3. Your quick reference review of this book makes me want to read it now. Being outside and finding something to do was and is one of my favorite adventure times. Wish my grands still loved it like they used to, sigh. But they have gone over to the dark side and barely have time to talk nowadays with their kindles adhered to their faces. A swat on the butt sounds like just the ticket , tee hee.

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  4. "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order." ~ John Burroughs
    Going outside is a cure-all. Taking a walk or doing any kind of yard work is flat our therapy!!!
    Patti, I don't see too many children simply outside playing anymore. A person can almost predict "ailments of the body or soul"...

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  5. It's really amazing when this happens isn't it Patti? It's as if we were meant to read it or hear those words...it's the only way I can describe it. It happens to me often in hearing a song too.

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  6. Yes! I tend to remember song lyrics more than inspired lines from novels. Makes me wish I had been writing stuff down all of my life.

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  7. Thank you for your suggestions. I just bought "The Rockin' Chair" & subscribed to Robert Brault's blog!!

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  8. It is great when this happens. I love to read magnets in hopes it will happen. In the rare instance it does, it is purchased and placed on my refrigerator.

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  9. A book about functional families would probably be plain boring.

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  10. I learned a short speech in High School from "HAMLET"....I chose the speech and it has stayed with me ALL these many years.....I'm not sure I conciously knew how important this speech was and is to me---but Subconciously, there was a reason a chose it, and that it's holds true today for me----ALL these many many years later....
    It is from a long speech that Polonius says to his son Laertes....The last few lines are the real key, for me.
    "Neither a borrower or a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry." AND HERE COME THE LAST IMPORTANT LINES:
    "This above all, to thine own self be true, And it must follow---as the night the day---thou canst not then be false, to any man..."

    Words to live by, for me.

    Great post Patti....it reminds one of things that hold such importance in your life and sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

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  11. This book sounds wonderful! I'm going to see if they have it at our library.

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  12. I think we're all a bit 'disfunctional' in some way. It's what makes us interesting.

    And I too love that "aha" moment when something either read or heard suddenly hits home and changes something within us.

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  13. Djan,
    I checked that book and it looks good. Will see if my library has it. Thanks.

    Betsy,
    You are probably right. Even the most normal have a screw loose relative in the mix somewhere.

    Linda,
    Ha. My mom use to call those swats on the behind, "love taps." It is safe to apply if necessary. Go for it.

    turquoisemoon,
    Yes, I totally agree with you and Mr.Burroughs. I too wish today's kids looked more to the outside for entertainment.

    Keith,
    I think you are so right. They seem like messages just for us.

    robin,
    I know what you mean. Those treasures that weren't written down, sometimes get lost. Songs get me also.

    fishducky,
    I am so glad you got the book and hope you enjoy it as much as I. Isn't Robert a delightful treasure?

    islandwonder,
    That is smart for it is then always there to remind you.

    Olga,
    Pretty sure we will never get to find out if that is true. I sometimes think we need to observe the truly dysfunctional to make the rest of us feel quite normal.

    Naomi,
    This is really strange. The part about "Neither a borrower or a lender be," are the exact words my Dad use to quote to me whenever I would ask for an advance on my allowance. Seriously.

    Jenny,
    Hope you can find it. I really enjoyed it.

    Rian,
    That describes it well. An "aha" moment. When something just clicks with us.

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  14. Back in 2008 while we were still living on the road full time, Denny's father passed away and we had to bring his house into condition to sell. We put in long days and had a 50 mile drive to and from to get back to our campground. When we arrived home, instead of being able to sit and relax with a glass of wine Patches (the cat from h*ll) would want to walk the dry crick outside our door. At first I would sigh and complain about her lengthy explorations up and down the dry creek bed, but then I started taking my camera and really looking around during those times when the cat was stalled investigating a fascinating smell. I saw so much that summer and when I look back at the photos I realize how many beautiful small things we miss in our rush to either stay busy or desire to just put our feet up and veg out with the TV.

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  15. A family doesn't function if it is not dysfunctional! Mine was anyway!
    Today was my weddingday 50 years ago.
    Time flies.
    Wil, ABCW Team

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  16. Very interesting post sweet Patti. I can honestly say that there have been very few times in my life that I can say I was bored. I am a nature and animal lover and both of those I spend a lot of time with when I am not keeping busy with every day things.

    I do have some favorite quotes that I think of now and then.

    I hear people sometimes say they have nothing to do or can't find anything to do. There is so much all around us to do and enjoy. I have never understood those who make that statement. But each to their own and it is not meant for me to understand all and everything. Hugs

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  17. Oh Patti, I forget to say that we had an enormous gale here. I noticed it when I went to my daughter's house, five minutes from my house. I was almost blown off my feet. My house is not surrounded by high trees, but several trees were completely uprooted. It was the worst gale since 1991. But not only in my country, it was just as bad in the UK, in France, Belgium, Germany and Denmark.
    I was lucky to be safe in my house.

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  18. Patti - That quote you liked struck a cord with me, too. I remember as a child wandering and having nothing important to do - thank goodness I had that time to roam and dream. I'm hoping my Grands have the same gift of unplanned time. Here's a favorite quote of mine: "The dangers of life are infinite, & safety is among them." Goethe

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  19. Linda B,
    Me thinks you owe Patches for the opportunity but it took you opening your eyes and removing the lens cap to take advantage. Well done.

    Wil,
    I had heard it was a monster storm and I am so glad neither you nor your family didn't have any property damage. Stay safe.

    Maggie,
    I think it is the kids today I worry about. They depend so much on their thumbs to keep them happy. Since Mighty has left me, I have a lot more time on my hands that he normally occupied. I am adding walks to my day to help.

    Barb,
    I worry for the kids today that rely too much on electronic entertainment. I am sure when they visit you, they get out and enjoy Nature.
    Great quote.

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  20. Dear Arkansas, I so enjoyed this posting of yours because it did capture for me that bemusing fact that we can hear something and know that it's wise and that it's important to remember.

    That happened for me the first time when I was reading a novel of the Williamsburg series by Elsywth Thane. The novel took place in the 1920 and early '30s. One of the main character--Sally-- was a woman in her 80s who is wise after living for so long. Her great-niece or maybe great-great-niece is forlorn because of unrequited love and Sally, an old Southern belle says, "My dear, some years are better than others."

    I read that line when I was 16 and I thought, "That's right! That's right!" Since then I've learned that some hours are better than others, some days, some months and even some decades. Peace.

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  21. >>I sometimes wonder if anyone writes about "functional" families? << Perhaps because there really aren't that many? You did make me chuckle, though. I have written an historical novel based on a group of women in our church who were together for 50 years, and their story could be called functional.

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  22. Fascinating post Patti. I used to be "hot blooded." Now definitely at the other end of the scale.

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  23. Dee,
    Yes, I can so relate to that also. A similar one for me is the saying, "How important will this be in (either a week, year or five years) puts most things in perspective.

    dkzody,
    Now that sounds like a purely pleasurable read. Sadly dysfunction has become so common that it has become the norm.

    TB,
    Me too. A bit more with each passing year.

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  24. Interesting post, Patti. I love quotes and Robert Brault is one of the best with them.

    I know what you mean about reading something that gives you that "aha" moment. It's not earthshaking by any means, but the Laura Ingalls Wilder quote in my sidebar did that for me. I like this quote from your book as well.

    Take care. I'll be back blogging soon, maybe even tomorrow.

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  25. I don't recall saying "I'm bored" much as a child- but I sure it now out of my grands. Those video games and computer time, along with 24/7 cartoons have ruint childhood.

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  26. Oooh. . . I like that last one about the mirror. I love quotes and have Quotes of the Day pop up on my homepage. (Alas, I rarely remember them, however.) Here's one from this week's batch:

    "You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing." - Michael Pritchard

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  27. Interesting observations. I love words and often copy a phrase or a paragraph and share it with my oldest child. He does the same with me.

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  28. Cheryl,
    So glad you are back posting. You were missed. Isn't Robert great?

    Terri,
    "Ruint" I think is the perfect word. I know, when we were kids there was so much to do and most of it required moving more than eyes and thumbs.

    marylee,
    Sometimes I think it is more the lighting than the mirror but it really can bring you down:))
    Mr. Pritchard nailed it.

    Ginnie,
    He obviously got his appreciation from you. How nice that you share.

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