So Many Things on My Mind

You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.

~ Dorothy Parker ~ (When challenged by columnist Franklin P. Adams to use the word “horticulture” in a sentence).

I always have appreciated the wit of Dorothy Parker. I thought I’d start today’s blog post with something that might make people smile…or take offense…or spray coffee through their noses. Parker’s adaptation of the familiar “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” is a tribute to both her familiarity with cultural aphorisms and her extremely sharp, biting wit.  My late wife enjoyed Parker’s witticisms. For that reason, I bought my wife a t-shirt imprinted with one of her favorite Parker poems:


Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.


If not for a full plate of things to do and places to go today, I would write. A lot. I wish I could record all the thoughts that are swirling about in my brain this morning—not by documenting them with my fingers on a keyboard, but by recording the thoughts and visions in my head so I could play them back in my mind. I think far faster than I write, though some people would argue in opposition to that statement. But I do. There’s so much going on in my head that I want to remember, but I know I won’t. There’s plenty of “junk” that gets in the way, but occasionally I notice something of potential value going through my mind and I’d like to have a way to automatically record it so I could get to it later and explore it in more depth. Alas, that’s not possible. Often, my thoughts are fleeting; so terribly ephemeral that they do not last long enough for me to record them in any form. My fingers are too slow and my mind is insufficiently agile to place them where I will remember them. Of course, I do not want to or need to remember most of what goes through my brain; there’s too much chaff there to want to save it all. But when near-perfect spikes of wheat become visible among mountains of chaff, I’d like to have a way to snatch it and preserve it. If only…I wish…etc. One day, people may have ways to instantly and/or automatically record what goes on in their brains. If that happens, they will take great pains to keep those recordings out of the hands of every other human being; the stuff going on in my head could be used to send me to the guillotine. Or worse.


Last night’s performance by the Quebe Sisters at the Woodlands Auditorium was an interesting diversion from “normal” evenings that involve watching movies or television series or reading from my computer screen. Though western swing is not among my favorite musical genres, watching and listening to the talented sisters play fiddle and sing was an enjoyable diversion. And when they deviated from western swing and got into a bluegrass number, my engagement went up a few notches. There’s no question the sisters and their band members (a bassist and a guitar player) are extremely talented. I admire their skills and their dedication to a musical genre that they obviously have “in their blood.” I have my Realtor and her company, Re/max of Hot Springs Village, (which sponsored the event) to thank for tickets to the event.


Today will involve an interview with one or more representatives of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), who will determine whether I quality for TSA Pre-Check status. Eventually, if I ever decide to travel frequently by air to and from other countries, I might decide to pursue TSA Global Entry. But not today. Today, it’s just TSA Pre-Check. Just in case I ever decide to fly again. Which I will, of course. Just when, though, I do not know. Better to get the details out of the way early so as to avoid scrambling at the last minute.

After the grueling, 10-minute interview and fingerprinting, a quick road trip to Bentonville will occur. In Bentonville tonight, Alice Walton, Aggie Gund, and Darren Walker will speak at Crystal Bridges in connection with the screening of the film, Aggie. The focus of the film (and the conversation) addresses the intersection of art and philanthropy and social justice. I’m more intrigued by Alice Walton that I am with the film (at the moment). Ms. Walton’s wealth (the richest woman in the world?) is interesting, but more than that is the fact that she has been so generous with it. Funding Crystal Bridges (and ensuring its open and free admission) impresses me. Though she inherited her money, she seems to have worked hard to ensure that it does not benefit herself alone; she is a philanthropist whose exceptional generosity is worthy of exploration.  ANYWAY…just hours after the conversation and film screening (overnight), obligations in HSV will require a hurried return trip home. I need to get back home in time to attend a UUVC board meeting tomorrow afternoon. Then, I must hurry home to host and participate in a Zoom video chat with my siblings, who are scattered far and wide.

A full schedule can be either/both energizing and draining. I look forward to the opportunity, after the house closes and the move is complete, to have at least a few weeks in which my schedule is open or, at least, is mine alone to control. I imagine going someplace like the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow for a few days, where I can be both intensely lazy and intensely focused on nothing but writing and relaxing. We’ll see about that. But, first, I think a trip to California is in the offing so we can visit my sister and mi novia’s ninety-year-old mother. Despite the stresses of travel, that promises to be a welcome change from the frenzy of shedding old houses and making new ones livable.


Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.

~ Pope Francis ~

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to So Many Things on My Mind

  1. John Swinburn says:

    Yes! We see eye to eye!

  2. Rhonda says:

    Surprise, it worked! I can comment here now 🙂

  3. Rhonda says:

    Dorothy Parker’s best phrase, used by me often, “What fresh hell is this?”

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