Best wishes to mothers the world over with this repeat post, some current editing, I wrote here years ago.
My mother enjoyed language, words, and the double-play of meanings. Prominent in my mother's time was Dorothy Parker who was quite adept with word humor as a later quote will attest. Ms. Parker is described in Wikipedia as "an American poet, writer, critic and satirist based in New York; she was best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles".
Phrases, Sayings, Idioms, and Ageing
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 and not primarily just the 1-2% obscenely wealthy as in the U.S.
Somehow, I evolved into thinking about how we receive information for ourselves or that we provide others and yet do not often apply what is in their as well as our own best self-interest in a balanced approach benefiting all.
I thought of my mother's youth occurring during horse and buggy days, the changes and necessary adaptations wrought in her world. Autos, planes were invented. Women's right to vote the year she became age 21 and cast her first ballot were some of the highlights in her time.
What else came to my mind was typical of what I've often experienced since my mother's death years ago. The older I become, the more I think of her with increasing understanding, identification with some of her aging experiences. One of her favored 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 phrases.org.uk. 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 Conteinying the Nombr in Effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue:
'A man male 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 reading this, but Parker has been considered to be quite a wit.
Noticing English wording and spelling in days of yore, I wonder how our language as we speak and write will evolve, perhaps looking antiquated to those encountering our current communications in future generations.
Aging observations Dorothy Parker is quoted as saying a few years before her death in an interview with Gloria Steinem with which my mother, I'm sure, and now I can agree.
"You know, the odd thing about being old is that you see something--something especially good or rotten or funny, and you think, 'Oh, I must show this to so-and-so, it's just his [or her] sort of thing.' " She smiled, and walked slowly to the door. "And what's odd--is there are so many gaps in the circle now--that so-and-so is gone."