Monday, October 11, 2010

Mark Twain, Walking and a Penny Saved

Journal Entry: October 9, 2009: Coinage = $.03; ground scores =3.

Feature Entry: Mark Twain, Walking and a Penny Saved

Much of the country is celebrating Mark Twain’s 175th birthday. The MoneyWalkers are on a family visit/mini vacation and currently spending our time in Wilton, Connecticut. Today I walked to the Lady Fatima Catholic Thrift Store to service my bric-a-back habit. It is one of my favorites. Wilton is near Redding, CT, a former home of Mark Twain. The walk took me past the Wilton Heritage Museum which featured a one month only Mark Twain exhibit. Wasn’t it Mark Twain that said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Or, was that Ben Franklin?

Either way Mark Twain was a prolific creator and collector of aphorisms as well as a serious walker. A good blog that features Twain is Aphorisms and Aphorisms. One of my favorites from the list is:
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Twain took long walks, often ten miles or more. Solo walking was not his first choice. He sought out companion walkers, especially the Rev. J. H. Twichell. He playfully accused Twain of stealing his best sermon material for his humor and witty writing. Twain countered by explaining that Twichell would have no sermon ideas at at all if it wasn’t for the material pilfred from Twain’s mind during their walks.

If not Twichell, than it was someone else. Walking was the venue and talking was the game. From his book, A Tramp Abroad he wrote:
” Now, the true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk. It is no matter whether one talks wisdom or nonsense, the case is the same, the bulk of the enjoyment lies in the wagging of the gladsome jaw and the flapping of the sympathetic ear.”
The pictured medallion celebrates this idea.

As did Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain was fascinated by novelty walks into forbidden or unknown places:
"What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked."
For those that want to know more about the culture of walking, be sure to follow the blog of Michael P. Garofalo, the Ways of Walking from which the above quote was taken.

The take away for weight watchers and those concerned about physical fitness is that whether your stroll, saunter, meander, hike, wander, or trek--the Mark Twain message from his 175th is to just walk be it solo or companion. The more the better.



  1. 3 cents on that walk??? Times are tough in CT.
    Now the future value assuming Ben Franklin banked the 3 cents at 5% in 1776 would now be something like $3600.00 now.

    Loved the Mark Tain aphorism and how well said for these mid term elections. My favorite one:

    A theologian is like a blind man in a dark room searching for a black cat which isn’t there - and finding it! Mencken

    If the cat seeker is truly blind the color of the cat is inconsequential, of course if it is not there perhaps it is serving in Congress or wants to and is runnning for Senate in Delaware.


  2. Thanks PT, visit with me again. Collecting "accidental" aphorisms is bit of a hobby as is walking.