The Cracker Barrel: Collected thoughts

This sampling of collected quotes over the past 10 years stands the test of time

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

More years ago than I’d care to admit, I got into the habit of jotting down thoughts and ideas that seemed worth saving.

After doing so for a while and then revisiting the collection, I had to admit that not all of them stood the test of time. But a surprising percentage still seemed green and lively, at least to my mind.

What follows is a sampling of quotes pinned to paper over the past 10 years.

  • “Cats yawn because they realize that there’s nothing to do,” and “… I would be strange and ragged and like the Prophet who has walked across the land to bring the dark Word, and the only Word I had was ‘Wow!’” - Jack Kerouac
  • The last five of the maxims displayed upon Apollo’s shrine at Delphi: “In childhood learn good manners; in your youth learn to control your passions; in middle age learn to be just; in old age learn to be of wise counsel; die without regret.”
  • “Many of life’s failures are people who did not recognize how close they were to success when they gave up.” - Thomas Edison
  • “I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?” - Jalaluddin Rumi, poet and mystic (1207-1273)
  • “Faith which does not doubt is dead faith.” - Miguel de Unamuno
  • “To profess to be doing God's will is a form of megalomania.” - Joseph Prescott
  • “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” - Yogi Berra
  • “I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do now.” - Will Rogers
  • “The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods.” - Socrates
  • "Barn’s burnt down - now I can see the moon.” - Mizuta Masahide, 17th century poet
  • “I am two with Nature.” - Woody Allen
  • “I’ve lived long enough to discover that there isn’t any folly a man won’t contemplate if there’s money or a woman at stake.” - George MacDonald Fraser
  • “This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we’re most sure that love can’t conquer all, it seems to anyway.” - Anne Lamont
  • “Today a peacock, tomorrow a feather duster.” - Richard Gates
  • “Her face was radiant and filled with the kind of humanity I suspect is purchased by living in two genders, and lovely in ways I cannot adequately describe.” - James Lee Burke
  • “I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” - Einstein
  • “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” - Thoreau
  • “Babies may see the number five as red, taste cheddar cheese in D-flat, and smell roses in triangles.” - Daniel Levitin
  • “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.” - Cicero, 55 B.C.
  • “We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death.” - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • “Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when you were not: that gives no concern. Why then should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be? To die is only to be as we were before we were born.” - William Hazlitt
  • “A heart in love with beauty never grows old.” - Turkish proverb

Collections of Craig Nagel’s columns are available at


Craig Nagel color.jpg
Craig Nagel, Columnist

What To Read Next
Members Only
Get Local