“Good Sayings”

What are the sayings that inspire you to live well?

A few days ago, I finally decided to go through my father’s papers. He’s been dead for more than three years, but until now I couldn’t bring myself to decide which of his papers to keep and which to throw away. These were not legal documents or insurance policies. No, these were his personal writings, some of which were neatly printed and clipped into binders, with others jotted down on small, yellowing scraps of paper.

I need not have worried. Most of the pages were filled with business notes about past and future projects, along with lists of contact information for customers and suppliers. However, I was intrigued to find a section in one of his notebooks with a tab labeled in all caps, “GOOD SAYINGS.” As I read his collection of good sayings, I was struck by their paradoxical or ironic aspects. For example, he had written,

“Many hands make light work…BUT…Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Further down the page, I came across these nuggets:

“The road to success is always under construction.”
“Laugh at yourself, or others will do it for you.”
“Money talks, but mine is giving me the silent treatment.”
“ABCDEF: Always Be Careful. Don’t Ever Forget!”

Yet, despite this dire warning, he also included Wm. Randolph Hearst’s call to action:
“Part of winning is not being afraid of losing.”

In my opinion, this last quote best personifies my father’s outlook. When it came to his Catholic faith, my father was “all in.” He was the first member and selfless supporter of the “Rosary Club,” founded in 1949 by Brother Sylvan Mattingly, C.F.X. Now known as Our Lady’s Rosary Makers, the organization’s members make and distribute rosaries to the world’s spiritually needy throughout the world. Back in the 1980’s when Mother Angelica was forming EWTN-TV, my father was so devoted to her project that he chose to mortgage his farm to get more cash for her cause. However, when she found out that he gone to this extreme, Mother was distressed! She made sure that those funds were returned to him, so that he could keep his farm, despite his willingness to make the sacrifice.

I generally go walking in the evening after supper, often strolling through the cemetery near our house. It’s quiet there… a great place to pray the Rosary… and to pray for family and friends who are buried there, including my father. On his gravestone is carved another saying that he held dear: “Do what you should the best you can.” My father was a complicated man. We didn’t always understand each other. But there’s no misunderstanding this last statement of his. In truth, it’s not a bad statement to live by!

“Do what you should the best you can.”

Richard and Alice Flanigan, married 68 years

What is your favorite “good saying” that motivates you or makes you laugh?

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