MAILBAG: Mother Still Knows Best

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter is in response to this week’s episode of GAYDAR.

Very well-written! As all the great writers suggest, “Write what you know.” Well, you did! Let me tell you a little story my mother used to tell me…

mommiedrstcropped_1.jpgThere was a young man who went off to work in the Peace Corps in the African jungle. He was there 2 years and finally would get to come home to his family on their farm in the mid-West. In anticipation of this, he wrote his parents telling them that he was bringing home with him his fiancee, the girl he had chosen to marry. She was, he explained, the most beautiful girl in the village and the daughter of the chief. When he arrived home, with him was his fiancee. She was black as night with a bone through her nose (and this, children, was in the days before civilized people CHOSE to willingly put bones through their noses)! His parents were appalled and could not imagine how their red-haired, freckle-faced son who had been raised on a farm could fall in love with a woman so very different from himself.

What they did not realize, and what the son had not realized either, is that his decision to marry was made in isolation from the life he had lived and to which he would return some day. While in the small African village, with little contact with the outside world, he gradually adopted the standards of the people there, making all his comparisons to what he had become accustomed to in that village. She may have been a beauty in that little village and the daughter of the tribal chief to boot, but back in Kansas she did not compare quite so favorably.
I have made a short, funny story into a long-winded morality tale. But the point is that it can be self-limiting (to say the least) to allow our perspective to become too narrow.

Some quotations come to mind:
Discretion is the better part of valor.
Moderation in all things.
A closed mouth gathers no feet.
And here is one from some old (round about 100 BC, I think) Roman fellow named Terence. He said:
That is true wisdom, to know how to alter one’s mind when occasion demands it.
But I would like to adapt it to express my take on the present blog situation by saying:
That is true wisdom, to know how to edit out names of persons and places, when the occasion demands it. (Mr. Editor-wasn’t it you who entitled one of my posts “Mother Knows Best”?)


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