Thursday, August 16, 2012

On the Banks of the Mississippi with Mark Twain

My husband is a long-time Mark Twain fan, and our son had The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as one of his summer reading books... So, in an effort to share his love of Twain with our son and bring a fun family adventure to the end of our summer, my husband suggested we all go on a little road trip to Hannibal, Missouri last week.

We drove from the Chicago suburbs in a meandering southwesterly direction and visited Mark Twain's Boyhood Home & Museum, the Mark Twain Cave, the mighty Mississippi River and a number of sites in and around lovely Hannibal, where the young Samuel Clemens grew up. He didn't have an easy life, but his novels and witticisms are timeless, and I've appreciated them often through the years.

My favorite of his books is not a surprising choice for anyone who knows me, as it's the one based on his travels in Europe and the Holy Land: The Innocents Abroad. I read it decades ago (must read it again!), but I loved it and related to the author's observations of people in the way that my husband related to Twain's characterizations and stories of the American West, particularly Roughing It.

I'll leave you with some of his most famous quotations...and a question: Do you have a favorite Mark Twain story? A saying of his that you like best? If so, please share!

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.

One of the striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.

The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.

Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.


Edie Ramer said...

I love this! There were quite a few comments that I wish I'd thought of. Including the one about the cat, of course. lol

I never read The Innocents Abroad. Now I'll have to read it. Thanks for the recommendation!

Marilyn Brant said...

I loved that one about the cat/lying, too!! I'd never seen it before until we were in Hannibal, but it was one of the main quotes that they featured at the museum. SO witty, that man. I admire him greatly, even though he was one of Jane Austen's most outspoken critics, LOL ;).

Caryn Caldwell said...

What a fun trip! Twain definitely had some sadness in his life, but even then his sense of humor shone through.

Great selection of quotes, too! I tried to pick a favorite, but found I couldn't.

Marilyn Brant said...

Thank you!! It was Twain's humor that reeled me in, too. I think I need to spend a day just reading through some of his quotes because he has *so many* great ones, and quite a few I'd never seen before :).

JOAN REEVES aka SlingWords said...

Yes, I have several favorite quotations from Mr. Clemens. How about: "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter -- it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

Great post, Marilyn.

Marilyn Brant said...

That's such a great one! It's one of my favorites :). I never remember the entire quotation like I should, but I think of it *every single time* I write the word "lightning," LOL.

Debbie Haupt said...

Marilyn, I just saw this.
you were within a couple of hours of me :)
maybe next time

Marilyn Brant said...

Oh! I hadn't realized we were so close!! It was a quick zip through for us this time, but you know I'd love for us to cross paths someday :). *hug!*

Debbie Haupt said...

someday we will, fate isn't that big of a well you know what :)