Monday, September 19, 2011


I had the great pleasure of hosting several of my girlfriends for a while on Sunday afternoon for a session of laughter, man-bashing (LOL), strategizing, reminiscing, and just plain girl time that always does something wonderful for the soul!! Do you know about those kinds of girl afternoons!?  Women at their best....I LOVE it!!

Whenever such afternoons occur, it is inevitable that I quote my mother.  Her birthday is next week, and she would have been 79 years old.

Zouri Irene Boone Burke was a phenomenally independent spirited lady who was so very wise and witty.  At first meeting, she was shy and carefully observant of you, although she was good to offer sparkling eyes and a genuine smile. But when you got to know her, she was practical, extremely funny, and had a way of "cutting to the chase" that all who knew her enjoyed.

(Doncha just love her glam photo, probably taken in 1949 or 1950?)

I don't know the origin of some her sayings, but see if you can appreciate the wisdom (and humor!) in them!!

1."Every tub has to sit on its own bottom."
Is that true or what!?! Even when I'm teaching quilting classes, I'm reminded that I am not responsible for other people's choices, and they are not responsible for mine.   You wanna use that color!? I probably wouldn't, but it's your quilt.  Do what you want! :-)

2. "[They] let their skimmer leak."   Huh!? :-D
Mom's and Dad's wedding day, 1952
This refers to missed opportunities.  She was especially fond of saying this to me and my sister in reference to all the boys who wouldn't date us in high school and now wish they had!! :-D  I use it when I realize I should have bought 8 yards of that fabric because it would have been the perfect backing for my quilt. :-)

3. "If cows pooped butter, we wouldn't have to churn!"  And yes, she actually said "pooped."
:-D  No "blackguarding" from my mother! :-)  Mom believed hard work would solve most problems in life and anything worth having you'll probably have to work hard for.  The equivalent would be "no free lunch!"  In this age of entitlement, a reminder that cows don't poop butter might be important to teach, huh?

4. "The more you stir manure, the more it stinks."  Mom used this one mostly in reference to running down gossip and trying to determine who did what to whom when... Nonsense!! Don't sweat the small stuff.  The more it's gossiped about or fretted over or messed in, the uglier it's gonna get.  Better to let it go!

5. "Some people wouldn't be happy if you pooped in their plate."  LOL  We're country and grew up on a farm; poop figures prominently in our reality and our vernacular!! :-D  Mom wasn't especially sarcastic, but this one is a classic!!  The wisdom? Some people you can never make happy!

There's many, many more of these "Irene-isms." :-)  As you might imagine, I'm keeping a list of them to include in her memory quilt.

I've shared her one intricately pieced quilt before....
The little red triangles are no more than an inch at their widest point.  After this scrappy beauty, she decided it was crazy to cut big pieces of fabric into smaller ones and sew them back together.  LOL 

She loved my quilts, but it was "dreamin' of the 'tater hole" to think she'd make another one with little pieces! :-D

"A wife of noble character who can find?" the author of the Proverb wrote. 

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue...Her children arise and call her blessed."  Proverbs 31:26, 28

I was very blessed to have such a mother.  I'm doing everything I can to make sure my children can say the same!!

Do you have any wise sayings from your family to share?


In Memory of Irene Burke
September 26, 1932 - May 10, 2007


Jeanna said...

Wonderful post, Mary Lou! I'm so glad to know that "blackguarding" would get other people in trouble, too - my Mama (my mother's mother), was always complaining about one of my uncles, who would "come around here using that blackguarding talk." As a child, I thought it was spelled "black garden," lol, and wondered where that was!

John'aLee said...

Oh it sounds like you girls had way too much fun. Love your memories of your mother! What fun and great sayings. Some I've never heard of before.

Janet O. said...

My mother's wisdom usually comes in the form of singing a line from a song or quoting scripture.

antique quilter said...

what a wonderful post, a nice tribute, one that just made me smile.
the quote that comes to mind if your not going to do it right the first time don't bother

Cheri said...

Oh I love the stirring manure one, so, so true. Your mother's quilt is a lovely one, nothing like starting with a difficult pattern, did she hand piece it? A great heirloom.

Jan said...

So funny - what great memories!

Sarah Craig said...

Great post, and lovely memories of your mom! One family saying springs to mind, considering how much rain we've had here the last two days. When venturing out without an umbrella, our family saying is, "Well you're not sweet enough to melt!!" Of course, one wiseacre family member responded, "Salt melts too!"

The Civil War Quilter said...

I think I would have enjoyed meeting your mother. What a character! And, I thought our family had the wacky old sayings!

Quilter Kathy said...

What a wonderfully interesting blog post to read about a fascinating woman! I may just be inclined to use some of her wisdom with my kids!

Mary said...

I looked at this post when I saw it on another blog because my grandmother's name was Irene.

We have another version of "wouldn't be happy"...."if you hung them with a new rope."

My other grandmother often said, "It is good enough for who it is for." Meaning, it isn't for Jesus Himself and no one else was ever perfect.

Thanks for the memories.

Lori said...

So funny and true Mary Lou! Your mother was a wise woman!

Vivian said...

Wonderful memories of your mother. Mine has a "mother" sort of name too -- Doris. Mom doesn't really have sayings that I remember, but she always has advice, always interesting, given only when we ask for it, and tempered with her experience and common sense, stirred with her love and given in just the right doses.
I hope I also can give my children wonderful memories and perfect advice, just as my mom gave to us.

angie said...

I love your mother's sayings..great wisdom put into words we can all relate to. I will be reminding myself in the days and weeks to come not to "stir the manure." :)

Rose Marie said...

Your Mom sounds like a real treasure .... you were very blessed to have her as your Mom!

Patty Sumner said...

I do not know how I missed this one.....Love it!!!!

Lady of the Cloth said...

My grandmother's name was Irene Burke. I had quite a start when I saw this post.

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