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This evening, while shuffling through my grandmother’s papers, I came across several pages torn out of a diary from 1956. Being frugal, my grandmother must have saved the pages, which she hadn’t written on, and 37 years later used them to jot down what she called “pearls of wisdom,” from her poke bag.

She started writing the pearls on March 17, 1993, adding new observations, and putting to paper ones from years early… no doubt written on scraps of paper. The short observations “Loot” and “Forethought” were taken from two snips of paper, tucked in the diary. The latter written on the back side of a promotion for flooring, roofs, insulation, and other household services.

Enjoy the start of my grandmother’s pearls:

March 17, 1993

They say that even fools know enough to gather up the little pearls of wisdom their senses encounter as they trod along life’s pathways. Let’s open up my poke bag and see what I’ve gathered up or concocted.

Finding the use of the word “poke” with “bag” unusual, I looked it up. The noun poke, meaning a bag or sack, dates from the 14th century. The idiom, “a pig in a poke,” refers to concealing something in a sack. It can also infer a buyer was duped by buying a low-quality pig because they didn’t carefully check what was in the bag before making the purchase.

December 18, 1969

Envy, smoldering in the eye, sets the whole brain afire

The club hostess’ lament: Many hands are willing to slice the pie; few are willing to bake them. Rose_cropped

Knowledge is where you find it. Finders keepers.


Talking about statistics: If you have one foot in the oven, and one foot in the refrigerator, one the average, you’re comfortable.

March 23, 1986, 5:00 a.m.

Stepping out the front door to get the newspaper, I was almost overcome by the fragrance that filled the air. A sweet hardy perfume.

Orange blossoms? Lemon? Lilac?

I took a deep breathe, but couldn’t tell which. The perfumer could outdo Mother Nature in creating fragrances.

Then I hear it. The absolute quiet. Not a car was rolling down the street or zipping around the corner.

A rare moment in time and I was privileged to experience it.

September 24, 1992

When the sound of laugher is stilled, the silence reverberates forcibly with the threat of despair to come.

March 16, 1993

Try as I might, I still cannot find anything good to say about illness and pain. Except perhaps they service to remind us that our bodies are not made of iron or steel. And even they break under pressure.

Can anyone go through a reasonable spin of life without ever experiencing pain or sickness? How lucky for them. Or unlucky?


By the time I figure out what I’m doing wrong, I’ve done it.

Rose Ridnor