Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day & Saying

Four months have passed since ending my blog as the year 2009 concluded. Hardly a day since then has gone by that my mind hasn't been prompted by a multitude of sources with thoughts of topics tempting me to write. I enjoyed the time away, especially the first two months of 2010, then was doubly glad to have the succeeding months away when unexpectedly a succession of possible health issues crimped my style. Subsequently figuring my own Income tax again this year kept me busy as did continuing my part time work. I have now formed a much better idea of how much time I want to expend here and to what degree I want to impose expectations for myself. So it is that I resume blogging having been most recently stimulated by thoughts of my mother on this special day.

My mother enjoyed language, words, and the double-play of meanings. The author, Dorothy Parker, prominent in my mother's time was quite adept with word humor as a later quote will attest.

Best wishes to mothers the world over.

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms

Lying in bed one recent night thoughts of the world's financial precariousness caused me to wonder why so many corporate, financial and government leaders fail to accept and implement problem solving solutions provided them in ways to benefit their country's population multitudes. Somehow I evolved into thinking about how we receive information for ourselves or that we provide others and yet do not apply what is in their or our own best self-interest. What came to mind was typical of what I've often experienced since my mothers death years ago. One of her sayings will pop into my mind as did this one:

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."

My curiosity led me to this information from Interestingly that Old English Homilie was recorded as early as 1175, the oldest English proverb that is still in regular use today.

"The proverb 'lead a horse to water' has been in continuous use since the 12th century. John Heywood listed it in the influential glossary A Dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue:

'A man maie well bring a horse to the water, But he can not make him drinke without he will.'

It also appeared in literature over the centuries in a variety of forms. For example, in the play Narcissus, which was published in 1602, of unknown authorship, subtitled as A Twelfe Night merriment, played by youths of the parish at the College of Saint John the Baptist in Oxford:

Your parents have done what they coode,
They can but bringe horse to the water brinke,
But horse may choose whether that horse will drinke.

It wasn't until the 20th century that 'lead a horse to water...' got a substantial rewrite, when Dorothy Parker reworked it from its proverbial form into the epigram 'you can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think'."

I don't mean to offend the sensibilities of any mothers reading this but Parker was quite a wit.


  1. Indeed she was! Welcome back, Joared. You have been missed.Happy Mother's Day!

  2.'re back! What a wonderful surprise when I came by to check. Welcome back JoAnn...and thanks for this wonderful post. I don't know that much about Dorothy Parker, but I do know she had quite a witty sense of humor.

    I hope you had a very nice Mother's Day sweetie...Happy that you're dipping your feet back into the blogging waters... ~Joy xo

  3. Welcome back. I know that taking a break from the blogging world is necessary at times. I am happy to see you posting again.

    I loved Dorothy Parker. Remember Hollywood Squares? Some of the wittiest jokes like the one you printed came from there. A play on words can be hilarious and Dorothy was a master at the art.