Dan Corkery: Readers share wisdom

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some of my late mother's proverbs, which she would inevitably utter whenever life would confound my brothers and me.

And I invited you to share some of the folksy wisdom you've learned from earlier generations. And many of you did.

Marj Smith, a native of England who came to the United States as a GI war bride, recited a verse she learned from her grandfather:

Patience is a virtue,

find it where you can.

A little in a woman,

and none in a man.

Now gentlemen, before you hurriedly argue your counterpoint, perhaps you ought to consider this piece of advice:

"Don't worry about it. Nothing is going to be all right."

Roger McMillan of St. Joseph mailed that gem to me, saying a co-worker used to say that whenever he sensed someone was getting uptight. Workplace humor is a healthy use of time.

"It doesn't cost a dime to say hello" is a saying McMillan learned from his dad. Agreed. No reason any of us should live in a community of strangers.

Fathers and father figures are adept at passing on family philosophy.

"You only go around once in life," Chuck Vaughn of Champaign learned from his dad, "and if you do it right, once is enough."

Vaughn says his surrogate father, Evelio ("an early exile from Castro's Cuba"), liked this quote from Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

That explains how I became the Daily Illini's theater reviewer in the late 1970s.

I too have learned a lot from my dad, values that cannot be easily condensed into pithy slogans. But I've always been fond of this one:

"A tree with strong roots can withstand a terrible storm."

Dad learned that from his mother, Margaret Staebell Corkery, a woman of many virtues, one of which was patience. She came by it honestly; she was the mother of 13 children. On their 120-acre farm in northeast Iowa, Dad says, he and his siblings were never bored. There was a plenty do.

And that might explain this saying from my great-grandmother, Bridget Mackin Corkery, who lived on the farm in Dad's youth.

"Many hands make light work."

Dan Corkery, managing editor for administration, is a member of The News-Gazette's editorial board. His email is dcorkery@news-gazette.com.

Sections (2):Columns, Opinion

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