Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Continual Feast

One of the pastimes I enjoy is reading to a few elderly women in the neighborhood. To that end an eye is always open for books, stories and poems that would make good material for these times. Experience has taught that stories revolving around the usual bestselling storylines—murder, sex, corruption and abuse—don’t go over well with ladies born sometime in the early twentieth century. Their desire for stories and poems is centered in a gentler time.

Over the past months I have read from a long list of writers, but not at all surprising are the requests for scripture, for stories from the Bible. That’s fine with me since the Bible is overflowing with great poetry and rich stories. From that end, it didn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that Jan Karon is a writer these ladies would enjoy. The writer is known for her Mitford series of novels, nine in all, with a couple of related extras. The Mitford stories are a big hit with those I read to for the reason that Karon is an excellent storyteller, and because her stories are free of the dark ravages that characterize modern society. In her small village of Mitford, snuggled in a green valley in North Carolina there are few if any ‘bad’ or unsavory characters, and nothing more upsetting that a ten year-old boy giving his classmate a shiner.

Following up on her main character, Father Tim Kavanagh of Lord’s Chapel, Karon published in 2005 a collection of Father Tim’s favorite quotes. This one is called A Continual Feast and if nothing else is evidence of wide reading by the lovable Father. Throughout the Mitford series Father Tim is a great journal keeper and many of his pages are sprinkled with words on his mind from either scripture or his favorite writers or public figures.

Here are a few of Father Tim’s favorites…

‘Happy the man, and happy he alone, He who can call today his own: He who, secure within, can say, Tomorrow do thy worst for, I have lived today.’ —John Dryden

‘Nothing is worth more than this day.‘ —Goethe

‘Sometimes you’ve got to jump off cliffs and grow wings on the way down.’ —Ray Bradbury

‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.’ —1 Thessalonians 5:11

‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re absolutely right.’ —Henry Ford

‘A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.’ —Washington Irving

‘Human nature is what we were put on this earth to rise above.’ —Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen

‘Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’er fraught heart and bids it break.’ —Wm Shakespeare, Macbeth

‘The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.’ —Dolly Parton

‘The best way out is always through.’ —Robert Frost


  1. Jan Karon is one of my favorite authors and I have read all of her books. I am so happy you featured her in your post today. Loved it!!!!

  2. Those quotes are priceless. There's a tie for my current favorite - "jumping off the cliff" and "the best way out" - both so incredibly timely and true! You may have me reading Karon next!


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America