Wednesday, January 11, 2012

uva uvam vivendo varia fit

I told you, Woodrow, a long time ago... it aint Greek its Latin. It's a motto it just says it's self... uvarum, uvarum fit uvarum... double fit... " If you are lost already you might want to stop reading here and go buy a Brad Paisley album then run in front of the next greyhound bus, or go to your library and checkout  Lonesome Dove and come back when you've read it. It's a beautifully written saga that deals with life's intricacies with a host of characters and events that lead the reader down a loose and  interpretative  version of the Goodnight-Loving Trail. 

"Uva uvam vivendo varia fit" is a Latin phrase that loosely translated means "A grape is changed by living with other grapes." With the help of Wikipedia ( and one of my more physiological friends, I believe its safe to further break down the motto to: "We are changed by the lives around us." By being able to reduce the phase to the latter I think we have stumbled on to a provocative statement made by a character that, while probably didn't understand it's written meaning, embodied its true meaning. Which is good new for us because it would be hard as hell write about grapes.  

If you take a little time to consider Gus's Latin motto "We are changed by lives around us" you will surely  have to realize that when you look in the mirror it's not only you that that you see. So many people are looking back into your eyes, old friends, ex-lovers,  great teachers, and of course family. After all none of us got to where we are with out help. To help further my point, a good exercises might be to envision what your life might be like if you had never met your best friend. A bleak thought, right? 

Upon reflection, I can pin point a handful of people and maybe four or five days that had defining importance on the man I am today.  I can also point to hundreds of smaller events, or conversations, or even jokes (looks like you blew a seal), that helped develop my taste in art, music, sports, food, and a thousand other things. I am also forced to consider all of the dumb people that I have been around that influenced me. I won't call names but I have done my best to try to learn what not to do from people that made poor decisions in life. And though I would like to claim a 100% track record in the "didn't do dumb things department", that is simply not the case. In fact, at one time I allowed my self to be lead down a road of self destruction by people that I considered good friends. Years after I look back on that time and wonder how tough would I be today if at one time I had not had the experience of hitting bottom. The only real answer I have for myself is a big question mark.  

"Uva uvam vivendo varia fit" or "We are changed by the lives around us" I hope each of you takes a second to consider the people that brought you to where you are today, and be thankful for them. 

while i was considering this post i had an idea about a future post, but i will need your help. if you know the characters in the novel or movie Lonesome Dove please let me know which character you feel you best relate to and why. you can leave your answers in the comment section of this blog or on facebook. If you relate to one of the whores in Ogallala please leave your contact info as well.

I will leave you with a few more great quotes from McMurty's novel that further illustrate the point he was making with the phrase "uva uvam vivendo varia fit" 
  •  A man who wouldn't cheat for a poke don't want one bad enough
  •  Here's to the sunny slopes of long ago
  •  I could kick you for givin' him all them ideas about Montana. Now we're gonna suffer for the rest of our damn lives     
  •  I know I did, son. And I'm sure you wished you had. But yesterday's gone, we can't get it back. Now you go on with your digging. 
  •  I loved Augustus McRae, but I wasn't willing to share him with you every time you decided to ride off on some adventure. I despised you for what you were then, Captain Call; and I despise you for what you're doing!  
  •  expected you to own a bank or at least a whorehouse by now Jake. It seems life has been a disappointment to both of us 
  •  I never noticed you having accidents with ugly girls
  • Jake liked to joke. He didn't like to work. I have exactly those same failings myself



  1. I believe I am most like Captain Call as I hate to admit that I am wrong even to myself. I also had a supervisior one time that told me when he found I had made a mistake "You are Human".

    Will Adams

  2. Totally agree. I think we have to be choosey of some of those we let into our lives for just this reason.
    As for who I relate to, I honestly have to say Lorena Wood. She was a girl who was basically good, yet was in a terrible situation. However, she didn't let those bad situations ruin who she was...until her abduction. That's where I stray from her character, or at least I hope I have.

  3. Here's a few more great quotes:
    The older the violin, the sweeter the tune
    That's money well spent, both times

  4. Sometimes i feel like a combination of Woodrow and Gus. I like th women but am too damn hard headed to let them get too close. However if i had to choose one it would have to be Woodrow. Im a stubborn hard ass that thinks i can make it through life all alone sometimes, which we all know is impossible. I also am a man of my word and i can see myself leaving all I've worked for to keep a promise to one of th very few people ive let enter my life, even if it was 2500 miles with their stinking dead corpse

  5. All men would like to think they are woodrow ... but most are like Jasper Fant. Me more like P haven't a clue most of the time