Looking to the past: Examining the wisdom of some old adages
There are things that occur in your life that stay with you for a very long time. It certainly holds true for me as I get older and grow wiser from all my past experiences growing up Adirondack.
Here are a few examples.
I have learned not to fish with my father on any day there is a suggestion of rain as even a remote cloud will form thunderheads and drown us in our boat.
I learned that the only friend who will ever listen to all your thoughts and not judge you is your dog.
Tools can do more jobs than what they were originally designed to do—if only you find where you left them.
The best night crawlers are picked on dew grass at midnight. Girls who like to spit and put worms on the hook are great to have around.
If I were to listen to half of what my mother told me I would only have half as much trouble.
But regardless of what I have learned through my own experiences, I believe it’s old wives’ tales that have stayed with me the longest.
Most of these stories I heard along the way from fellows trekking into the woods who regularly disproved the theory that you have to be an old wife to have a tale.
These are some of the tales that I heard along the way that I thought you might enjoy.
One old feller looked me in the eye one day and said, “If’n yer scared o’ them spiders just spit on your shoe and it will keep them away. But better if’n its terbbacy spit.”
I had one old-timer explain to me that, “If the water feels warm enough to swim in, it ain’t fit to drink from no crick.” Apparently he had no trouble with Beaver fever.
Then there was the city dude who visited the area often when I was young who tried to give me hiking tips every time he saw me. Little did he know that I hiked more miles every day than he probably did in a season.
I was a good listener and always polite enough not to ignore him. Until one day he said,
“Remember to always wear loose clothing so your body will breathe better when you hike.”
I looked him right in the eye and said, “I breathe pretty good just out of my mouth and nose. No sense getting other parts involved that I need for walking and carrying my fish pole.”
He seemed quite surprised with my response. From that point on he stopped offering his tales and started right in listening to mine.
I suppose that folks were just trying to be helpful with their “red sky at night sailors’ delight, red sky in the morning sailors take warning” weather reports.
But these tales have remained with me for a long time and never seem to leave my memory.
The best adage I heard however was, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” That’s one I thought about alot—especially when the Chalet Pie Shop, located up the road from my Limekiln Lake home, opened for the summer season.
I put a few hard-earned pennies in my pocket, spit on my shoe, checked the morning sky, tugged at my too-tight sweatshirt, and with my best friend Mutt, headed to the shop for some fireball candy that I would wash down with some creek water—but only if it was too cold to swim in.