Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Eddie Jane Pelkey
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Moving finger having writ, moves on

Escape with Eddie


The moving finger writes,

and having writ

Moves on, nor all

your piety or wit,

Shall take back ere a line,

Nor all your tears wash

out a word of it.

-Omar The Tentmaker

What was said in the 12th century is still applicable today. We can’t take back our words once they have left our lips. Whoever said, "The pen is mightier than the sword,” knew what they were talking about. The written word can be even more difficult to erase.

I am not a person who speaks in platitudes. Usually I am very clear on what I think about most things. However, that being said, I have tried to use tact when I have to say something that might be hurtful.

There is another side to the coin of truth telling. Not saying a word when something is clearly going wrong can be just as distressing as saying too much. How are we to differentiate what to say when clearly something needs to be said?

From my lofty viewpoint of 76 years, I have come to the conclusion that speaking the truth is important. When I think back to the many times I could have said something to someone, either as a heads up to give them information they really needed or I was afraid I would hurt their feelings, I could kick myself. I am determined to do better in the future.

Do you have times when you think about those things you could have said or done that would have changed a situation for the better? I know I do.

As I was sitting on the deck the other morning watching the day begin to unfold, I gave a lot of thought to this whole idea — when to speak and when to keep your mouth shut. Oh boy, it really can be a dilemma.

As I was thinking about this, I realized I am more apt to address something straight on since getting older. I’m not sure if this is a factor of aging, or just that most of us grow a little wiser as we get older. I realized I don’t pussyfoot like I used to when I was working so hard to be the best nurse manager I could be. I practiced a lot of political correctness; you know, never call a spade a spade. I’ve changed. Now I know a spade when I meet one, and I’m likely to point it out.

Growing older has its advantages. As elders we are expected to be wise if not all-knowing, or at least close to that ideal.

Omar Kyyham was correct when he spoke of the moving finger writing for posterity. However, the key to speaking and writing is to know when to keep the mouth shut and the jaws clamped. You see, many people do not want to look at truth, and if they are serious about denial, perhaps the better part of valor is to say nothing. Doing nothing can’t get us into questionable situations regarding tact.

One of the things I cherish about aging is that life seems so much simpler. I go about my business and I don’t have to answer to someone telling me how to act my age. My age now gives me the opportunity to speak my mind, and the Devil take the hindmost.

Now, of course, I am not advocating we elders go about causing all kinds of ruckus with our opinions; I am just saying when our opinions are being solicited, be honest. You see, the moving finger also applies to those things we do not express honestly. The day comes when you question why you didn’t say what you really thought. At that point it’s too late to go back and restate our thoughts. And somehow, by not being honest, we have done a disservice to ourselves and others.

My personal opinion is this: If we elders had a month to run America, we would make major inroads on many of the issues. Issues of importance would not be put into committees. For one thing, we don't have a lifetime to spare for committees. We could be dead before decisions are made. Our collective brain power, combined with the ability to call a “spade a spade,” would guarantee our success.

We could all write history.


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