Opinion Columns & Blogs

Wise sayings for all times

Are words important? Donald Trump apparently thinks his are. At least they are not plagiarized. But aren’t most politicians’? In fact, most people’s are. Have you ever heard anything that was completely original? Truth to tell, if you don’t know where certain words come from, guess in order, The Holy Bible, Shakespeare, Ben Franklin or Mark Twain. You’ll have a good chance of getting it right. Regardless, I think words are very important — especially in troubling times.

Sam Way of Hawkinsville told his son, Bob, this: “Often the best opportunities come at the most inopportune times.” Given the economic times in which we find ourselves in, I find Sam’s words very wise.

An obviously wealthy man told me something that has stuck with me since. I asked him, “How did you make so much money?” He replied, “Selling out too soon and not making a big enough profit.” Indeed! I know that there are lots of people who wish they had sold out about 10 years ago. This calls to mind another saying: “Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.” Lots of hogs have been slaughtered since 2007.

My daddy said lots of wise and interesting things. One of my favorites of his was, “Differences of opinions make poor land sell high.” This reminds me of a conversation I had with Daddy years ago. I was a young, struggling lawyer when I urged Daddy to buy a large tract of land with these words: “Daddy, we ought to buy this farm. There’s no way it won’t go up in value.” Well, in the first place the “we” meant Daddy (like, “me and Pa killed a bear”). And, secondly, the land could go down in value and actually did. Daddy was much wiser than I was. Differences of opinions make poor land sell high.

Speaking of farms, who was it that first asked this question and supplied the answer: “Want to know how to make a little money farming? Start off with lots of money.” If you’ve got a farm and trying to make a living with it, you will understand. What Daddy told me about “we” buying that farm comes back to my mind.

Mike Ditka said this: “Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal.” I hope Ditka’s words make you feel better. They don’t do too much for me, but folks react differently, and perhaps his words will help some overly optimistic souls.

Try these: “To get back on your feet, miss two car payments.” That’s by a unknown wit, but this one’s from Ernest Haskins: “Save a little money each month and at the end of the year, you’ll be surprised at how little you have.” And Elisabeth Marbury said this: “The richer your friends, the more they will cost you.” Think about Ms. Marbury’s words. And think about this, something I’ve told clients through the years: “Be careful of going into business with partners that have lots more money than you have or lots less money than you have.” Actually, Katherine Whitehorn said it better: “The rule is not to talk about money with people who have much more or much less than you.”

I didn’t start out for this to be a column about money, but it seems to have ended up this way. But, it is a pervasive subject. Take the presidential debates or what they talk mostly about in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. This is my lead-in to two great quotes. The first is a simplified tax form suggested by Stanton Delaplane: “How much money did you make last year? Mail it in.” The second, which kinda’ relates to the first is by Will Rogers: “The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.”

Then, there are the words in I Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Or, as Daddy used to simply say: “Money won’t make you happy.” And to which I once replied: “Daddy, I notice that people who say this always seem to be those with plenty of it.” Still, as I get older, and hopefully wiser, I believe that Timothy and Daddy are probably right. In fact, given the sources, I know they are.

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly, and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com