Yesterday, I was struck by discovering that November 3o was a highly significant date in the lives of two of the world’s most quoted people: Mark Twain, who was born on November 30 in 1835 and Oscar Wilde, who died on November 30 in 1900.
You might well wonder what all this has to do with the National Gallery of Ireland and the Turner Exhibition which takes place there every January.
Well, for me, the link between all three is my late father. He absolutely loved quick wit and always had a few books of ‘quotable quotes’ close at hand. The tougher the situation, the more he leaned into these books to garner a chuckle or nugget of inspiration.
I remember well sitting by his hospital bed in Coronary Care waiting for him to wake up. I was flicking through one of his ‘old companions’ and found myself totally captivated by the quotes that he had marked. He woke to find me with a big smile on my face and wanted to know what was so funny. I began reading some of the quotes to him and soon we were both laughing with sufficient gusto to entice a nurse over to us. Her words: ‘ You two know how to enjoy yourselves ~ would you like a cup of tea?’ Always one with a sweet tooth, Father seized his moment and said: ‘ Oh, tea would be lovely especially with a few chocolate biscuits!’ The tea and biscuits arrived in jig time!
So, yesterday on learning it was Mark Twain’s birthday, I went to one of Father’s trusty books of quotable quotes and had a look to see what quotes he had earmarked. This was the one that jumped out at me:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
( Mark Twain)
This quote immediately brought the paintings of J.M.W. Turner into my mind and how Father had introduced me to the January Exhibition of Turner’s work at the National Gallery of Ireland. What an antidote to post-Christmas blues! I’m already planning January’s trip ~ and yes, I will Explore, Dream and Discover! Discover the National Gallery of Ireland and its Collections