Folktales, Legends, and Stories

Pearls of Wisdom

An Afternoon of Remembrance

Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.

St. Matthew Slovak Lutheran Church


Dr. Tom Check and his sister Betty Check-Pirnick gave us an afternoon of reminiscing; all those wonderful “Pearls of Wisdom” that our parents used to teach us “the lessons of life.” Dr. Check prepared a booklet with 123 of these “pearls“ that he and Betty remember their parents using. Their parents spoke in the šariš dialect, the booklet has the sayings in English and Slovak.

Surely some of these same phrases were used by parents of all nationalities. We learned from what we heard. Some of the translations are not word for word, it is the idea that comes across in the translation. At the afternoon event the Checks explained the situtation in which the sayings were used.

Included in the booklet is a story, Slovakia On My Map, written by Margaret Matus, a young student at the University of Pittsburgh who currently is working on a self designed major in Eastern European Studies. Her story tells her family’s immigration to America.

Dr. Check also included information about Michael Novak’s writings. Mr. Novak is a Slovak-American Catholic philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. He served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

The back of the booklet includes; Dr. Check‘s talk at the SHSNEPA Lenten Slovak Hymn Sing at Sacred Heart Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pa in March 1996; his reflections on the “written and spoken words that embellish the mission of our society; and several blank pages for you to add your own families‘ sayings that influenced you.

The Checks’ father taught them a Slovak proverb… Niet človeka na suete. čo od neho možem se daco naučit. There isn’t a person alive that you can’t learn something from.

 Several “Pearls of Wisdom” from the booklet are below…

 * * * * * 

Some are from parent to child:

A kto tu bidze rozkazovac???? And who is the one, to be giving orders in this house????
Či mi toto, treba na mojo stare dni? Do I need this in my old age?

  * * * * * 

Some are profound statements: 

Perse sto roky najhorse The first 100 years are the hardest.
Sity lačnemu neveri.. ani zdravz horemu A man with a full stomach never believes a hungry man, just as a healthy person does not believe or understand a sick man.

   * * * * * 

Some uses rhymes:

Bol jeden mnih, a mal vela knih, a nič neznal z nich! There once was a Monk, who had a great many books and unfortunately he didn’t know much.

  * * * * * 

Some are humorous:

Bodaj bi tce kacka kopla Would that a duck would kick you in the shins. (said during an argument)

* * * * * 

As you know the Slovaks have an expression for every occasion and situation in life. We call them "Motherisms".

Neny som zviedavý, len chcem vedieť!!!

      I’m not nosey, I just want to know!!!

* * * * *