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Archive for November, 2013

“The reason God quit creating after He had made woman is because He realized that even He could not improve upon Perfection!”
–Jimmy Peacock

“I had been writing for twenty-five years
before I realized that the theme
of all my writing is . . . loss!”

–Jimmy Peacock

In the previous three posts I have presented a series titled “A Few of My Favorite Things.” In this final post in that series, and as a summary of my blog at the time of my seventy-fifth birthday, I close with some of my favorite quotes about women’s issues. These quotes then lead into a conclusion to the primary themes of the entire blog, and my “last word” on it.

As always, my comments within the quotes are set in brackets, and my comments after the quotes are set in parentheses. My emphases are indicated by italics.

Women’s Issues

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”
—Joseph Conrad, Celebrity Cipher,
Tulsa World, 11/09/13

“I never have a conversation without talking about the two loves of my life: Arkansas and Mari!”
—Jimmy Peacock

“Woman is the dominant sex. [That is certainly true in my marriage!] Men have to do all sorts of stuff to prove that they are worthy of woman’s attention.” (And then they don’t always get it the way they want. As Jeff Foxworthy once said, “I must admit that I married my wife for her looks—but not the ones she’s been giving me lately!” I know the feeling!)

—Camille Paglia, Celebrity Cipher,
Tulsa World,
February 22, 2013

“Whenever ‘soft, sweet Mari’ gets riled up and goes into her hard-headed, tight-fisted, fire-breathing, tongue-lashing mode I call it ‘Gone with the Mild’ and I call her ‘Starlet O’Terror’!” (See my earlier quote that if I ever come back in another life I want to be called Rhett Butler ‘cause I know what it’s like to be married to Scarlett O’Hara—even a blonde one!)

—Jimmy Peacock

“The emergence of spirituality in early humans began with the ability to recognize beauty, to distinguish ‘betterness’ in some forms of reality over others and to conclude that there was something or someone who made it that way.” (That’s why I am thoroughly spiritual because I virtually worship beauty—especially feminine beauty!)

—Dr. Paul Talmadge,
Southern Baptist educator

(To view and hear a musical site provided by Dr. Talmadge of “morphing” photos of fifty of the most beautiful women of our time, including at least fifteen I have featured as my favorites in earlier posts on feminine beauty, click here.)

“The contemplation of beauty causes the soul to grow wings.” (It also causes the heart to ache or even break, as when someone once described Elisabeth Taylor as “achingly beautiful.” I agree. That’s why every morning I look at the five photos of her I have taped around my shaving mirror—and the seven around my computer screen—and I sigh!)

—Plato, quoted in Today’s Cryptoquote,
Tulsa World, June 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor (to magnify, click on the photo)

“Elizabeth Taylor is the most beautiful creature that God ever made—except Mari, of course!” (As I say, “There is a word for women like Elizabeth Taylor: exquisite! The problem is that there are no other ‘women like Elizabeth Taylor’—except Mari, of course!”)

The photo of Elizabeth Taylor was provided by Pat Scavo in an email on July 23, 2013, from this source:
http://www.shorpy.com/node/15652?size=_original#caption

Final Note on A Few of My Favorite Things

“The only two titles I ever coveted were those of Southern Gentleman and the Will Rogers of Arkansas. Now approaching the end of my life I can clearly see that I don’t deserve either one!”
—Jimmy Peacock

“The radio and the telephone and the movies that we know
may just be passing fancies and in time may go. . . .
In time the Rockies may tumble, Gibraltar may crumble,
They’re only made of clay.
But our love is here to stay.”

–“Our Love Is Here to Stay,” by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin
(To hear this song sung by Johnny Mathis, click here)
(
To read an article about 10 things that will disappear in our lifetime, click here)

In the November 17, 2013, post on his blog titled “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” my Ouachita Baptist College buddy and designer of my blog, Joe Dempsey, wrote: “The ominous truth is, our societal structure cannot and will not preserve most of what ‘was.'”

That seemingly fading and failing effort to “preserve most of what ‘was'” has been precisely the point and purpose of my entire blog.

Yet despite what may be presumed from my voluminous writings in this blog about “a few of my favorite things,” the truth is that none of the following items featured in the previous posts represent the “last and lasting word” in this blog—NOT . . .

  1. . . . the South, Arkansas, the Delta;
  2. . . . the Mississippi River, riverboats, levees;
  3. . . . plantations,  cotton and rice fields, antebellum mansions, Civil War battlefields;
  4. . . . shotgun houses, dogtrot houses, sharecroppers, tenant farmers;
  5. . . . home, land, tradition, memory, the past;
  6. . . . my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas, my hometown of McGehee, Arkansas, my alma maters of Ouachita Baptist College (“Go, Tigers!”) and the University of Arkansas (“Wooooo, Pig, Sooooey!”);
  7. . . . childhood memories of fourteen-cent “Sairdie-nite” double features with a “shoot-’em-up” (Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Lash LaRue, et al.) Western; a Bowery Boys comedy; a Warner Bros cartoon; previews of coming attractions; and commercials for RC Cola and the local Chevy dealership;
  8. . . . birth and childhood in a farmhouse without electricity, running water, indoor plumbing (only a “slop jar,” i.e., chamber pot, for “calls of nature” in the middle of the night), air-conditioning, TV (only a battery radio);
  9. . . . Southern Baptist churches, Methodist churches, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, grade school (without any kindergarten), high school (without any middle school or junior high school);
  10. . . . Southern fried “chickin an’ mashed ‘taters with ‘nanner puddin’” for dessert, fried catfish and hushpuppies, “bobba-chew” (the “whole-hawg kind” cooked “awl nite lawng in a hole in the groun’ and basted reg’lar with gen-u-wine East Arkansaw brown sauce”);
  11. . . . magnificent Southern magnolias in full bloom, sluggish bayous and sloughs (swamps to you Yankees) lined with cypress trees trailing Spanish moss, palmettos (miniature palms), alligators, cottonmouths (deadly poisonous water moccasins);
  12. . . . my three folk heroes: Will Rogers, Elvis Presley, and Robert E. Lee;
  13. . . . Southern Gospel music, Delta Blues music, Grand Ole Opry-style Country-Western music; 1950s Rock ’n’ Roll music, Elvis Presley music, Doo-Wop music, college boys’ quartet music, etc.;  
  14. . . . feminine beauty, charm, grace, gentility;
  15. . . . soft Southern nights, soft Southern accents, soft Southern belles;
  16. . . . even the Exquisitely Beautiful Elizabeth Taylor (whose thirteen photos surround my daily life, stir my soul, and torment my yearning mind and aching heart daily).

No, as vitally important as any and all of these things and people (and countless others) are to me—none of them is what I want my “last word” to be in this post . . . or in this blog . . . or in this life.

That “last (endearing, enduring) word” from Jimmy Peacock—in this life and in the life to come—is now and always will be . . . Mari!

(To view my opening May 12, 2011, dedication of this entire blog to Mari with a photo of her in her wedding gown made on December 27, 1962, click here.)

Mari

To magnify, click on this fiftieth wedding anniversary photo of . . . Mari!

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“You are a real conservator of a special place and time.”
—Paul Talmadge, Southern Baptist educator,
to Jimmy Peacock in email dated May 24, 2013

“Maybe our favorite quotations
say more about us
than the stories and people we’re quoting.”

–John Green, Celebrity Cipher,
Tulsa World, November 8, 2013

In the third of this series of posts titled “A Few of My Favorite Things” I continue to summarize the basic message of this blog. I do so by listing some of the best quotes I have discovered on a variety of subjects since my previous posts were published. Afterward, in the fourth and final post in the series, I will identify and emphasize the “last word” in all my writings and in fact in all my life.

But to learn that final word, please continue to at least skim through these other “final words” that lead up to that concluding expression of everything I have ever written.

Now let’s begin with a few of my favorite recent quotes on a few of my favorite longtime subjects. As always, my insertions in the quotes are set in brackets while my personal remarks about the quotes are set after them in parentheses. My emphases are indicated by italics.

Books and Writing

“In the life of a writer there are no extraneous experiences.”
–Anonymous

“There are different rules for reading, for thinking, and for talking.
Writing blends all three of them.”
—Mason Cooley

“I hate writing but I love having written.” (Me too! But as I say, “You preserve yesterday by writing about it today!”)

—Dorothy Parker

“[In writing] One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time.” (This is precisely what I have been trying to do in this blog!)

—W.S. Merwin,
quote provided by Pat Scavo

“Brevity is the language of the gods.” (Which is why I have never been able to claim that I speak for God, and why I have doubts about many of those who do! I have often wondered how many would want to be “spokesmen for God” if they were required to take a vow of poverty, chastity . . . and silence!)

—Anonymous, quoted by Vivienne Schiffer,
author of Camp Nine, a historical novel about
the WWII Japanese-American relocation camps
near my hometown of McGehee, Arkansas

“Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book.” (So I am not alone but am marvelously equipped!)

—Edward Gibbon

“As for writing, most people secretly believe they themselves have a book in them, which they would write if they could only find the time. And there’s some truth to this notion. A lot of people do have a book in them—that is, they have had an experience that other people might want to read about. But this is not the same thing as ‘being a writer.’ . . . [As a writer] you represent mortality, whether you like it or not.” (And that mortality is what has motivated me to collect, compile, and publish my writings on this blog!)

—James D. Watts Jr,
“Learning what ‘The Dead’ have to say,”
quoting Margaret Atwood in her book
“Negotiating with the Dead:
A Writer on Writing,”
Tulsa World, March 17, 2013

Religion, Politics, and Philosophy

“The last time we mixed religion with politics people were burned at the stake.”
–Bumper sticker seen in Sapulpa, Oklahoma

Listen to your life, see it for the fathomless mystery that it is . . . . because, in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
—Frederick Buechner, Now and Then 

“All I know about religion is basically what I learned in forty years of Southern Baptist Sunday school—plus some additional information I have picked up over the past thirty-plus years of laboring daily ‘in the Lord’s vineyard.’” (See my previous post titled “Life Is Reg’lar/My Mother’s Bible” in which I explain how I became a religious copyeditor with absolutely no qualification or credentials.)

—Jimmy Peacock

“Spiritual writer and speaker Paula D’Arcy has said, ‘God comes to you, disguised as your life.’” (For a fuller discussion of this subject of what Frederick Buechner called “biography as theology,” see my earlier post titled “A Summary of My Personal Spirituality and Pilgrimage.”)

—Paula d’Arcy quoted by Ed Roling
in personal email to Jimmy Peacock
on August 22, 2013

“If the splendour and glory of God are to shine forth from your service, then you must be prepared to enter the night.” (Then I must be bringing great splendor and glory to God in my service because I have been in the dark night of misery and exile for thirty-six years!)

“God’s blessing will be on your service only if you serve Him at the place He has called you to. If you choose the place yourself, His judgments will come upon your service and no matter how successful it may appear, it will bear no true fruit.” (Then my thirty-six years of service in My Oklahomian Exile must be fruitful and a blessing to someone because I certainly didn’t choose it or its place!)

–Anonymous quotes sent to Jimmy Peacock
by Ed Roling on October 31, 2013,
the thirty-sixth anniversary of the day
Jimmy moved to Sapulpa, Oklahoma

“It’s not enough to know God’s WILL, you also have to know His WON’T!” (For example, it is obvious that God is not going to restore me to my beloved Arkansas homeland any more than He is going make me twenty-one years old again, no matter how strongly I believe it or how fervently I confess it!)

–Jimmy Peacock

“The study [of religious faith] also theorized about the rise of ‘none’ in the U.S., from 8 percent of the population in 1991 to 20 percent in 2012. It noted young adults are less likely to engage in community participation of any kind, including church; and are more likely to consider religious people as insincere and hypocritical.

“So what are the millennials looking for? Uncompromising truth; substantive, serious faith and not entertainment or theatrics. The study’s advice for parents: create homes where children ‘witness a vibrant faith that’s lived out honestly and intentionally.'”

–Bill Sherman,
“Young adults exiting church, study shows,”
Tulsa World, November 4, 2013

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” (As Josh Billings said, “The trouble with most folks ain’t so much ignorance as it is knowin’ so many things that just ain’t so!”)

—Thomas Jefferson

“It is said in some circles, with a ring of truth, that expectations sow the seeds of resentment.” (Or as I say, “No one can be fully enlightened until he has first been totally disillusioned.”)

—Saying attributed to AA meetings

“Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” (And yet knowing that fact full well, I constantly feel I have no other choice!)

—Henry Garcia, Celebrity Cipher,
Tulsa World, June 27, 2013

“What we anticipate seldom occurs, but what we least expect generally happens.” (Which is precisely why I have learned to always expect and prepare for the worst case—because if I don’t, I will be blindsided every time! I am neither a cock-eyed optimist nor a pop-eyed pessimist, I am a bull’s-eye realist!)

—Benjamin Disraeli, Today’s Cryptoquote,
Tulsa World, June 27, 2013

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass . . . It’s learning to dance in the rain! . . . We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.” (Unfortunately, being raised Southern Baptist I never learned to dance and being a land-lover never learned to adjust sail!)

—Anonymous quotes provided by
Dr. Paul Talmadge,
Southern Baptist educator

The South/Home/Sense of Place/Land/Past/Memory

“Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?
And don’t you remember?”
—Jesus to His disciples in Mark 8:17-18 NIV

“In the South every man has a bit of Rhett Butler in him.” (See my earlier self-quote on wanting to come back in another life as Rhett Butler because I know what it’s like to be married to Scarlett O’Hara, even if she is a blonde one!)

—Ted Turner

“The Promised Land [home] is not a place to be conquered by armies and solidified by displacing other people. The Promised Land is a corner in the heart, or it is any environment that has been mythologically spiritualized.” (That’s why I say that Oklahoma is not my Promised Land, it’s my Purgatory!)

—Joseph Campbell,
quote provided by Pat Scavo

“. . . how do you explain a sense of place to someone so unburdened (and unblessed) by one? It is more than a geographical designation, a sense of place. It has to do with identity, with roots sunk deep not just in the land but in the language and look and feel, and maybe death, of a place.” (You don’t explain it because you can’t.)

—Paul Greenberg,
“Above all, a sense of place,”
Tulsa World, March 6, 2011

Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left.” (A spokesman for the Chickasaw Nation here in Oklahoma says in a TV commercial for his people, “My task is to preserve the past for the sake of the future.” That is my task and my purpose too, for as long as I have left!)

—Aldo Leopold, Today’s Cryptoquote,
Tulsa World, October 22, 2011

“The 1950s are considered the last days of innocence. Pop music was loved by parents and kids alike. . . Rock and pop legends bring back the best songs from the late 1950s and early 1960’s rock, pop, and doo-wop era . . .”

—Ads for “Magic Moments:
The Best of ‘50’s Pop” and
“Rock, Pop and Doo Wop”
musical programs broadcast on OETA
in the Tulsa World, August 5, 2013
To listen to old-time 50’s music, click here
and then click on Pop Years.

“Nobody can be a cowboy forever.”
“I never had to get used to so much [change] in my whole life.”
(Neither have I since I had to quit being a cowboy at age fifteen!)

–Two aging cowhands talking about
the disappearing Old West lifestyle
in the 1970 movie Monte Walsh  

“The most vivid memories aren’t those carved in stone but the ones etched in the mind. Memory deepens with the years, the way a river carves through rock, slowly creating canyons, revealing old layers, and unveiling pain you’d kept decently covered before, bringing it all back. Sometimes the river cannot be contained and will overflow its banks. You feel the emotions swelling. Maybe on an anniversary, or when you hear a certain song, or for no discernible reason at all. And it all comes back, the joy and anguish of the past cresting in your mind. . . . Even as those who treasure their memory grow older, then elderly, and then they, too, are gone.” (I totally agree because I am experiencing it myself with the increasing passage of time!)

—Paul Greenberg, “Changing memories
of the old lady in black,”
Tulsa World, May 26, 2013

 Humor

“I believe that laughter is the best emotional Band-Aid in the world. It’s like nature’s Neosporin.”
—Matt LeBlanc, Celebrity Cipher,
Sapulpa Daily Herald, July 17, 2013

“I summarize my life’s goal and desire in my self-composed epithet: ‘I want to live in joy, die in peace, and leave a legacy of love and laughter!’” (So far I have already failed in the first goal and am sure I will fail in the latter two also!)

—Jimmy Peacock

“Three men from the United Arab Emirates were expelled from a religious festival in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadn. The Saudi Morality Police deemed the trio ‘too handsome’ harboring a potential to lead the local women astray.” (That very same thing happened to me thirty-six years ago when I was banished from the Holy Land (Arkansas) to Babylon (Oklahoma) for the very same reason!)

Sapulpa Daily Herald, August 24, 2013

“Ain’t it funny, we can see our friends or neighbors go out and make bad investments, do fool things, but we never say a word. We let him risk his life and his money without any advice. But his vote? We got to tell him about that, for he is kinder ignorant and narrow-minded and don’t see things our way.” (As I say, “You start out telling people your business, and they will end up telling you your business–and it won’t take very long!”)

—Will Rogers, quoted in the Tulsa World,
Sunday, March 17, 2013

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