Thanks for joining me for another discussion on Scottish Proverbs. For those of you who did not get a chance to read Volume #1 (posted on this blog on 13 November 2009) let me explain what we are talking about today.
The Oxford English Dictionary explains a proverb as: “a pithy saying in general use", and the Longman Dictionary says it is: “a short well known phrase or sentence, which contains advice about life.” Often repeated, proverbs express a truth based on common sense. Proverbs are wise words of wisdom, said in a hidden way. In many cases, we heard them given as advice or as warnings.
Various sayings come down through the ages. Origins get muddied. The proverbs I will list today, in their exact spelling, were recorded as far back as the 1600’s and attributed to Scotland. Passed for centuries before then by stories told around the home fires, many still ring true. Many will sound familiar, though a word or two may have gotten lost in translation.
I heard many that I didn’t realize were actual proverbs while growing up. I thought my parents, grandparents, etc. were quite intelligent. As an adult, I have come across these pearls of wisdom and abide by some to make my life run smoother.
Take this saying, which I cannot say influenced my life, simply because my husband and I never considered ourselves ‘rich’. A fu’ purse never lacks friends. Have any of you found people suddenly latching on when a little extra cash comes your way? Beggars cannae be choosers.
The proverb that has helped my family is A penny saved is a penny gained. Remember ‘Christmas Club accounts’ at the bank? Putting aside a set amount of money each week helped once our two boys came along. Then our bank offered a ‘Tax Club Account’. A Godsend when the property tax came due. Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves reminds me how happy we were when our boss handed us bonus checks. Putting those funds away for a rainy day helped us buy a house. Even today I have a container in my desk. All the extra change I accumulate each day gets dropped inside and I gleefully carry it to the bank whenever I need funds for a trip or event. A small amount adds up!
Speaking of marriage, I heard to marry is to halve your rights and double your duties. Is this statement true? My husband might agree. Though I think owning a home together brings its own burdens. We compromise on several issues, but I still remember his face the day I drove home in a new car. Well, it was an inexpensive used car, and I paid cash for it, but he looked at me like I was crazy. Willful waste makes woeful want. The vehicles air-conditioning broke and other little things started to pop up so we traded it for a Jeep that HE wouldn’t mind driving. Confessed faults are half mended. Since then, we tend to discuss major purchases before they happen. Nae fool like an auld fool, I guess.
Speaking of major purchases, we were discussing our first home purchase back in the day when $500 down got you a new home and two mortgages. Our son and partner are buying their first home. They are jumping through hoops and climbing mountains! Don’t marry for money, you can borrow it cheaper. One of the two mortgages we held for our first house had a balloon payment. Surprise! We held the mortgage on our next house while trying to sell the other house yep…two mortgages for six months. You CANNOT borrow it cheaper. They that dance must pay the fiddler. My opinion, remember.
When times get tough I think of several proverbs that have stuck with me. Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead. Nothing is more straightforward than that! Job loss is another issue that has raised its ugly head lately. Those of us who remember the massive unemployment rate back in 1990/1991 will understand that what is meant by when one door sticks, another one opens. Finding a new position in a new company or in a new field is a daunting task, especially if you are supporting a family. Change can be a good thing so don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
What about the employer who pink slips hundreds of workers in order to make the bottom line look good? How can they sleep at night? A business is more than cement walls, desks, and personnel files. What about when the recession ends? It will. It always does. Then this boss will try to fill his needs. What if everyone already changed careers? What if his normal work base left the state? Will he blame himself or the powers that be? He’s the slave of all slaves who serve’s none but himself. Did he remember to give charitable gifts to those in need? Did he drop off food for the food bank or old clothes for the thrift shop? If he doesn’t help our neighbors in need he’s as water in a holed ship.
These words have survived for centuries because a good tale never tires in the telling. Remember the next time something or someone bothers you that time and tide will tarry on nae man. And when life irritates you until you feel like throttling everyone and anyone, never draw your dirk when a blow will do it. Hit a wall or, better yet, a fluffy pillow.
Valentine’s Day is a time for forgiving, forgetting, and showing how much you admire the love in your life. Take time to say pretty words, do a good deed, and enjoy life, because a’s weel that ends weel.
Nancy Lee Badger lives with her husband in Raleigh, NC. She loves everything Scottish and still volunteers at the New Hampshire Highland Games, with her family. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Celtic Heart Romance writers. Her first novel comes out 25 June 2010 under her pen name, Nancy Lennea. Visit her websites and blog for updates and excerpts.