Christmas gems from years gone by
Some people forget about the true meaning of Christmas -- celebrating the birth of Christ, love, friendship and spending time with the family. As a youngster, I have fond memories of Mom inside fixing turkey and dressing while my brothers and I would be playing outside throwing snowballs, playing "fox and geese" and just being kids.
One thing I'll never forget about this period of my life are some of my dad and his friend's favorite sayings. It seems like we always visited more during the holiday season, and as children we had the opportunity to hear some of these words of wisdom more often during this time of year.
These sayings came from neighbors, brothers and cousins -- folks he'd lived with for years, some as many as 70 years. A few were rare buddies, with special nicknames such as Cactus, Drawers, Baldy, Short Legs, Fuzzy -- you get the picture.
Here are just a few -- the gems -- the ones I'll remember always:
* Your friends are the measure of your real worth.
* The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.
* Why do you think the good Lord gave you two ears and one mouth? So you could listen twice as much as you talk.
* Wait until you get a little older, then you'll understand.
* If you're going to train your dog, you have to be smarter than the dog.
* Never be too quick to criticize yourself. It ain't fair to your friends and relatives who are itchin' to do it for you.
* If all of your friends climbed up the elevator and jumped off, would you have to, too?
* If you haven't been bucked off a horse, then you've never ridden one.
* You can't listen too much when a friend needs someone to talk to.
* Some things aren't funny even to your best friend.
* If we have to love our enemies, we have to treat our friends even better.
* A friend is someone who dislikes the same people you do.
* The only way to have a friend is to be one.
* The best three friends a man can have are his wife, an old dog and ready money.
* A real pal will at least pretend to believe your lies.
* At the end of your life, if you have two or three true friends, you've lived a good life.
* A true friend is someone who knows that when you've made a fool of yourself it generally isn't permanent.
* When a friend drops by about dinnertime and you ask, "What brings you by here at this time?" You still have to ask him to stay for a bite to eat.
* Good friends are hard to find and harder to lose.
Most of us have a few good friends. Be thankful for them.
Remember them during this magical time of year. If you can't stop by to see them, call them on the phone or drop them an email message.
Remember during this holiday season joy springs from the heart of those dedicated to caring and helping others. The Christmas spirit dwells inside each of us.
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.