Words of Wisdom from my Grandma

“There’s enough good in the worst of us and enough bad in the best of us that it ill-behooves any of us to speak ill of the rest of us”. ~ Virginia Meacham Lahue 1913-1997

Thats a bit of a tongue twister for sure. I always chuckle a little when I see or say “behooves” for some reason. But the words are true. Grandma Lahue was fond of this quote and used it often. She never used the “people in glass houses” phrase on us. I think she liked her version better. It’s certainly more alliterative and rolls off the tongue nicely. Grandma was a poet at heart, I think – it was the Irish in her. I used to think she kept a list of quotes someplace so that she could pull them out and remind her of the important things. (like she would ever forget). Grandma was a stickler for etiquette and manners. She spoke nicely of people – or not at all (at least in public). She was always concious of the fact that “but for the grace of God, there go I.”

My Grandparents also had a ritual for saying goodbye after visits to their house. Grandpa was of French Canadian ancestry always said “Au Revoir” which us grandkids then converted to “Aurie” and he started doing it too. Grandma, who was Irish/English and more practical had this to say: “Be careful going through Derby”. Her mother’s family (from County Cork in Eire) lived in the country so the nearest big town was a place called Derby. Apparently it was a little scary to an Irish country family to go to the city so that became the refrain whenever someone left the house to go to town. Be careful in the big city. Grandma pretty much adopted this as her motto. I got deja vu watching “Witness” when the old Amish farmer told Harrison Ford to “Be careful out there among the English.” (Grandma – did you write that script?) I could expect a phone call from her on snowy days after work – just to make sure I got home alright. She did this with all 4 of her kids and most if not all, of her grandchildren. My mother inherited that mantle and makes the phone calls these days.

Another one top of her charts was “Use it up, wear it out, make it do – or do without!.” Grandma was a frugal Yankee lady and proud of it. She and Grandpa raised 4 children through the end of the depression, WWII and the fifties – they had to make a lot of things “do”. . Sadly we seem to have lost this ability these days. Everything’s disposable and has a shelf life. But not back in the day. I’m still using my grandparents’ rock maple chairs that were handmade by my grandfather 70 something years ago. (its good to be the oldest grandchild, by the way!) My parents refinished them a few times and so have I – but these chairs could give the energizer bunny a run for his money. Nobody seems to take that kind of pride in their work anymore. Stuff made back then was built to last, and built to “make do”.

That’s all I got for now my friends so I’ll say so long – Aurie, and be careful going through Derby!

Grandma ❤


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