Wit and Wisdom of Thora Emma Kofoed

[Thora Emma Kofoed (1896-1978) was my great-grandmother. I found this short entry in a writing book of my grandmother, Mary Nelson (Atkin).  — Thad Call]

Dec 29, 2006

It has been suggested that I write down some of the bits of wit and wisdom I remember hearing my mother say. (And some things that I only remember came from “someone” or “somewhere” in the family). I will write them from time to time as they occur to me.

  1. Life is just one tham ding (sic) after another. Love is two Damn Things after each other.
  2. Enough is enough! Even of a good thing.
  3. Don’t cry over spilled milk.I know that some of these “quotes” are not original with my mother. But they are as I remember coming from her lips. MNA.A word about Mother. Thora (pronounced To-ra) Emma Kofoed Nelson. Wife of Guy H. Nelson, Daughter of John Andrew Kofoed and Mercy Rosepha Campbell. Mother of 9. Six boys – three girls. Donald K., Vincent K., Wendell K., Leon K., John Andrew, Guy K., Zelpha May, Leone (twin), Mary.
  4. I’ll knock you pizzle end up!
  5. She would not allow self-pity! And she would sing to the sad one:“I’m sorry for myself,
    So sorry for myself.
    I’d go home and end it all
    But 14 stories is an awful fall.
    I’m so sorry for myself.I’m blue as I can be.
    My man walked out on me.
    I even lost my appetite.
    Couldn’t eat my second steak last night.
    I’m so sorry for myself.”
  6. The path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked.
  7. In His mercy the good Lord gave us one day at a time and poor memories.
  8. He gave you a brain and agency and expects you to use both – then take the responsibility for your choices.
  9. If I make your choices for you – you can’t claim the credit for your good ones – and I don’t want the blame for the bad ones.30 Dec 2006
  10. I have done better by you [my children] then I was done by. And you had better do better by yours than I have done for you.
  11. There is more than one right way.
  12. You are only better [or worse] than anyone else if you do better [or worse].
  13. On tithing: “You would pay your dues if you belong to any organization.” She told a story, a true story, of using untithed money that Aunt Mabel – Dad’s half-sister, had given them to buy a cow to replace the cow that died. The new cow died before they could milk it once.
  14. Worrying is about like rocking. It takes a lot of time, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
  15. There is more than one right way to do things (everything). Oops – repeated.
  16. Always use the best you have first, and you will always have your best to use.
  17. When she told about some of the antics of her brothers – and her sister and her father’s reaction – she would say – “Dad just smiled behind his ears”.
  18. Don remembers her encouraging, optimistic – “oh, you’re going to be just fine.” and “Oh, come out of it” – if we were sorry for ourselves.
  19. “Put that in your pipe and smoke it!” – a kind of “so there!” statement.
  20. Independent as a hog on ice.
  21. It doesn’t matter so much what you say as how you say it.See how many ways you can say (how many meanings you can give):
    “What you you think, I’ll shave you for nothing and give you a drink.”
  22. The more you stir it [a contentious situation or gossip], the worse it stinks.
  23. To a high school principal who denigrated her farmer brother because he was “just a farmer”: “…Brother, he is filling his niche about as well as you are filling yours.”
  24. You wouldn’t worry about what others are thinking about you if you knew that…
  25. A change is as good as a rest. While you are resting, you may hoe a bit.
  26. We will wash the windows on the inside so we can see out – and leave them dirty on the outside so “they” can’t see in.When we used to wash windows we would use crumpled newspapers to shine them.
  27. But for the grace of God, there go I.
  28. None so dumb as those who don’t want to know.



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