Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, chances are you’ve heard of Yogi Berra, New York Yankees catcher and eventual manager and coach. An 18 time All Star, he won 10 World Series championships as a player. For those of you unfamiliar with baseball stats, that’s more than any other player in Major League baseball history.
Despite Yogi’s many contributions to America’s national pastime, he might be equally well-known for his “mastery” of the English language, specifically for his “Yogi-isms”—illogical observations that always held a grain of truth, even though he did note, “I never said most of the things I said.”
Some of his better known sayings include such gems as:
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”
“I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.”
“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”
And, of course, one of our favorites . . . ”Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”
Remember that grain of truth I mentioned earlier? Despite the impossibility of people who are already dead attending your funeral—at least in person—there really is some truth in his statement. Families remember those who take the time to come to the funeral home or the church or wherever to pay their respects when Death takes someone they love. Unless you’ve stood in their shoes beside a casket or an urn, you don’t know how much it means when people set aside time in their busy lives to acknowledge your loss and your grief. And believe me, when you are there for them during those dark hours, they will be there for your family when it comes your turn to shuffle off this mortal coil.
So the next time you’re in a reflective mood and your thoughts turn to folks long since gone and their words of wisdom, remember . . . “Never answer an anonymous letter” . . . “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore” . . .” You can observe a lot by just watching” . . . and your presence means the world to people when they lose someone they love.
About the author: Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926. She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there. Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.