Responding to a comment Abby made about dying, I initiated a discussion about death at the dinner table. As a sort of pre-assessment to determine where the girls stood on the subject, I asked, “Abby, what happens to you when you die?”

She looked up from her plate, put her hand to her right ear, and calmly stated, “My ear gets fixed.”

My mouth opened to provide additional insight, but I couldn’t think of anything. I learn a lot from Jane and Abby every day.


Charlie & Lola

The lingering effects of Abigail growing up on Charlie & Lola include her persistent British pronunciation of the words “can,” “can’t,” and “there.” I cahnt say I don’t enjoy it.

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

Thomas Hardy


To be a Man’s own Fool is bad enough, but the Vain Man is Every Body’s. This silly Disposition comes of a Mixture of Ignorance, Confidence, and Pride; and as there is more or less of the last, so it is more or less offensive or Entertaining. And yet perhaps the worst Part of this Vanity is its Unteachableness. Tell it any Thing, and it has known it long ago; and out-runs Information and Instruction, or else proudly puffs at it. Whereas the greatest Understandings doubt most, are readiest to learn, and least pleas’d with themselves; this, with no Body else. For tho’ they stand on higher Ground, and so see farther than their Neighbors, they are yet humbled by their Prospect, since it shews them something, so much higher and above their Reach. And truly then it is, that Sense shines with the greatest Beauty when it is set in Humility. An humble able Man is a Jewel worth a Kingdom: It is often saved by him, as Solomon’s Poor Wise Man did the City. May we have more of them, or less Need of them.

William Penn