Pine Nuts: A few healing lessons |

Pine Nuts: A few healing lessons

Spent the last six weeks out on the Mississippi & Ohio, saving sinners while spreading the Gospel according to Twain.

That’s what I like to think, anyways. They saved me is probably closer to the truth. Of the thousand folks I got to talk to, only one had a discouraging word… “There ain’t no unhappiness like the misery of confronting reality after a cheerful, careless river cruise.”

I have to agree. I shoved my TV under the bed in my stateroom aboard our paddleboat as we launched for the upper Mississippi, and only pulled it out for the Oregon-Cal game before landing in Louisville on the Ohio.

I arrived back on the grid hoping our country might have healed herself a little in six weeks, but was crestfallen to discover she was more divided in Twain, so to speak, than before. But I am thoroughly rested now, and up to the task of bringing everybody back together again with a simple bumper sticker reminder…

We all pull our pants on one leg at a time — Pass The Word!

If that message doesn’t bring the country back together again I will eat my Oregon Ducks hat at halftime of the Rose Bowl on national TV, and I won’t use any Worcestershire Sauce to sweeten it up with. Of course I will inevitably receive a video in the mail of a guy jumping into his pants with both legs as he leaps from his top bunk, and I shall congratulate him for that feat.

The final truth, the essential truth is, at bottom we are all the same. We love our kids and want the best for them. We know college is expensive and we complain about it, but never stop to calculate how much more expensive stupidity is…

As I tell my granddaughter…Honey, money is not actually for throwing from the back of trains. Save your money, and don’t gamble. But if you do gamble, don’t split your tens. And never compound ignorance with inaudibility. If you don’t know something, speak up!

Base your fashion on what does not itch, and read good books. Mark Twain reminds us, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” Today’s literature is mostly about sex and not much about raising children, whereas in life you can expect the exact opposite.

And have music in your life, make it if you can, as music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

When you are in politics you are in a wasp’s nest in a short skirt, as the saying is, but should you insist on a life of politics, try to bear in mind that a politician thinks of the next election; a stateswoman thinks of the next generation.

When you suffer bereavement, remember, God gave us burdens — also shoulders. Oftentimes, being with those you like is enough, but to be successful you must engage constancy to purpose. So as we used to say back in the 1830s, “Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the color in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty and your animal spirits.”

And finally, always do right, this will gratify some, and astonish the rest…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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