Quotations are like rare stones in rings of gold. They provide insight that can move, illustrate and entertain. They can do many things like remove the wheat from the chaff, provide a cowardly lion with courage or simply clear away all the cobwebs from a darkened corner.

For a writer, quotations can add zip to a story or help provide credence to your tale. I collect quotations and some still reside in a couple manila envelopes. A few are taped on my kitchen refrigerator. Others lie scattered on the wooden floor of my middle desk drawer.

I often refer to three or four books of quotations in my office book case, and every once in a while I still take out my scissors and cut from magazines, newspapers and any other form of paper when I find one I consider especially good.

Sometimes, I even grab a pen and scrawl them down on a scrap of paper or if that’s not in sight, the palm of my left hand. I must write it down so I won’t forget. Most of these quotations are short on words but still say it quite well.

After rummaging through my collection, I offer these up to for your reading pleasure. Some are written by famous people, some not so famous.

If we take people as we find them, we may make them worse, but if we treat them as though they are what they should be, we help them to become what they are capable of becoming. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Of those to whom much is given, much is required. — John F. Kennedy

If you don’t vote, someone else is voting for you on issues that are important in your life. — Voltaire

Too much of a good thing is wonderful. — Mae West

Life is what happens when you are making other plans. — John Lennon

Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest. — Jerrold

What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better. — Wendell Phillips.

One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning. — Lowell

To live in hearts we leave behind, is not to die. — Campbell

Why should the devil have all the good tunes? — Rowland Hill

Men are what their mothers made them. — Emerson

An optimist is one who buys from Jews and sells to Scotsmen. — Anonymous

No man is more cheated than the selfish man. — Henry Ward Beecher

Judge a man, not by his answers, but by his questions. — Voltaire

Tools were made and born were hands, every farmer understands. — William Blake

In youth we learn; in age we understand. — Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

An old connoisseur of wines was run over by a truck and some wine was poured on his lips to revive him. ‘Pauillac, 1973,’ he mumbled and died. — French legend

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. — Victor Hugo

The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing. — Edith Wharton

The best days are the first to flee. — Virgil

Nothing good is ever lost. It stays a part of a person — becomes part of one’s character. — Rosamunde Pilcher

Too late we know the good from the bad: the knowledge is no pleasure then, being memory’s medicine rather than the wine of hope. — R. D. Blackmore

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwest Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.