No. 298

Have you ever had someone say to you, “Don’t strain a gnat and swallow a camel”, after you had said something that indicated what they perceived to be misplaced values or wrong priorities?” This is just another one of those little clichés that many of us use to express a thought in lieu of a lengthy discussion. In reality we may have to go ahead and explain it anyway.
There are countless ways to explain what this cliche’ means but here is a good example. A while back I was watching a television program where a young lady was in court suing the owner of a Bridal Service because she did not follow to the letter all the details of her wedding that were set forth in the contract. I mean down to the nth degree from the time, food, music, seating arrangements, photographs, wedding dress, clothes for the bride maids, ring bearers and other details that were very important to her. Of course, in her mind this made sense because she wanted it to be right and perfect in every way.
The thing that made this story so ironic is that she was in the process of getting a divorce the same day she was in court. You see, the details of her wedding were apparently much more important than the wedding vows she took that said in part, “in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” Here was a clear case where someone strained a gnat and swallowed a camel.
When it comes to keeping our priorities in the proper perspective here are some thoughts that have helped me and may also be of value to you. They were sent to me by a reader and were titled, A POSITIVE NOTE, “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today life does go on and it may be better tomorrow.** I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles a rainy day and lost luggage.** I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they are gone from your life.
I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. ** I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.** I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.** I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.** I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.** I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.” As you read and think about what I’ve been saying I hope you will use a lot of good ol’ common sense when it comes to making those important decisions and choices in your life.
Now I want to make a retraction of something I put in a column titled, “The Story of Taps” than ran a few weeks ago. Shortly after it ran in one of our papers I received a letter from Jack Carter who told me the origin of the story about Captain Robert Ellicombe and his dead confederate son was a myth and never happened. For years this myth has been around and other writers such as Ann Landers and Dear Abby have also passed it along as being true, only to have to make a retraction later.
I’ll have to admit, it was a beautiful story and I guess this is why all of us were taken in by it. According to a book written by Jari Villanueva from Baltimore, Maryland titled, Twenty-Four Notes That Tap Deep Emotions the actual origin of Taps is from the last strain of the 1835 tattoo call which appeared in Scott’s Infantry Tactics in that year. If you want more information check it out at and click on the flag. Sorry I let this get by me. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)