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Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Recipe for Life: Wishbone / Backbone / Funnybone

Chef Crazy Eyes“To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.”  Country Singer Reba MaEntire said that and I have to say, it is one of the best recipes I have heard, so far, on how to survive this wild and wooly ride called Life.  Like any good recipe base, her words of wisdom provide an excellent foundation.  Those three elements are a pretty solid meat (or other protein source, for my non-meatatarian friends) and potato beginning to put in the pot: hope, strength and humor.  Plus, one can always add a thing or two, here and there, to make the outcome as delicious as possible.

Though, keep in mind, the three you choose, have to be prime choice pickings.  Lesser ingredients will not do.  Because, if you were to choose false hope, brute strength and demeaning humor?  Well, be honest – we all know it would not be nearly as healthful and nutritious for one’s soul.  Let shop, shall we?


If our wishbone is where hope is stored, what exactly is it — to have hope?  Emily Dickinson wrote as beautiful a description, as I have ever heard: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.”  When you choose the things you wish and hope for, make sure it is a creature you are willing to look after.  Something glorious, that you are happy to take care of… feeding, nurturing and loving with all of your heart.


Look up the definition of “strength” in a dictionary and you’ll get answers like “being strong” (D’oh!) or having the “power to resist force.”  That’s all well and good, when talking about the strength of someone who has a backbone.  Simple and to the point, that is.  Yet, having a backbone, in my opinion, is more adequately described by Roman Emperor/Philosopher Marcus Aurelius: “You have power over your mind – not outside events.  Realize this, and you will find strength.”  Seriously, those Roman Emperors did a whole lot of fussin’ and fightin’ so strength was something they truly knew a thing or two about, but that Marcus fella was one of the wisest amongst them.


Life is serious.  The good news… is that you don’t have to be.  It does not mean you can’t take things seriously, especially when there is tremendous pain and sorrow (and yes, Virginia – life is going to contain a crapload of pain and sorrow.  Sorry ‘bout that.) – but, if you give yourself permission to metaphorically put on the fake disguise Groucho Glasses you will see that a whole lot of life is awfully laughable.  [Decades later, emptying my gravely ill mother-in-law’s completely full catheter into a bucket with no bottom is still one of the highest banana peel moments of my existence.  You would have had to have been there, to fully appreciate it, but the laughter that ensued shook the late night, darkened household and everyone in it, to tears.]  The road is rocky and the way is long, so I have found it helps to sometimes laugh about the path I cannot change.  Or, as Henry Ward Beecher put it, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs.  It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”  The ability to make light of difficult situations will give your heart wings, making whatever load you’re carrying just a little less heavy.

There are no simple answers and no easy-to-follow cookbook for all that life hands us, but if we take the ingredients we are given and add them to an already solid recipe foundation – we can find a way to make good things to be savored at the end of a day.  After all, the best chefs will tell you that even soup that is too salty (and seemingly ruined) can be fixed by adding a bit of sugar to counter-balance the problem — or by adding more liquid or tomatoes or… — be creative, people.  It’s your life.  It’s your recipe.

I’m not an amazing cook.  But, I can follow a recipe!” ~ Rachel McAdams

The thing with food is that you can give 20 people the same recipe and the same ingredients, and somebody’s going to make it better than somebody else, and that’s the creativity of it.  It’s like music.  You could have a bunch of people playing the same piece, and somebody’s gonna play it better.”  ~ Dweezil Zappa

Recipe writers hate to write about heat.  They despise it. Because there aren’t proper words for communicating what should be done with it.” ~ Alton Brown

My parents would always have us, as many times as we could, sit together for dinner and talk about what was happening in our lives, and so we created a great recipe where I could be completely honest with my mother and to an extent my father, being an attorney.” ~ Ryan Seacrest

One thought on “Recipe for Life: Wishbone / Backbone / Funnybone

  • Jim says:

    disengage from mores and expectations from the crowd. be who you are and follow your heart. you will soar and experience freedom. suddenly you come from Plato’s allegory of the cave to what is real and fulfilling. Peace and rot’s of ruck…


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