“For a long time now I have tried to simply write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.” (Ernest Hemingway)

One of the first blogs I ever wrote was titled, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” The author of this great quote was a man named Nelson Henderson. Last Friday, Nelson Henderson’s grandson, Jason Henderson, contacted me through WordPress. He had been online looking for information about the famous quote and found my blog by chance. It turns out that his grandfather was a farmer in Manitoba, Canada and his son, Jason’s father, wrote a book about growing up on the farm and that’s where the quote got started towards its famous destiny.

The part I found even more amazing is how much my life experience runs parallel to the Henderson family. My grandfather, Guy McClintick, sounds a lot like Nelson Henderson; practical, hard-working, generous and productive. These are men from a different era when the days just weren’t long enough to do all that needed to be done and to leave the world better than they found it. They planted trees so we could have shade. They worked hard so we could have it easy. They shared their wisdom so we could learn from their mistakes. They left legacies that serve as inspiration to many. Nelson Henderson even left a quote that brought two strangers together a hundred years later.

Now I think I know what Hemingway was talking about. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can and this post, https://grhgraph.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/the-true-meaning-of-life-is-to-plant-trees-under-whose-shade-you-do-not-expect-to-sit-nelson-henderson/ was one of those times.  Maybe words are like trees, we plant them now and future generations harvest them. I’m here each day trying to communicate thoughts that might make a difference for someone a hundred years from now. That is an incredible revelation for me. I can’t begin to explain how happy I was to hear from Jason Henderson. He could have just moved on with his life but instead he took the time to share his joy with me.

If I had one wish for my writing career it would be that. If something I wrote helped you find new meaning in your life, I would like to share that with you. You might even surprise yourself and write better than you thought you could. Communication only happens when two people make it happen and lord knows we need all the communication we can get right now. If it happens that you live somewhere close to Kansas City, I would even be willing to meet up under some big shade tree and have a real conversation about what really matters. Sometimes I have good luck and I talk better than I can.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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18 Responses to “For a long time now I have tried to simply write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.” (Ernest Hemingway)

  1. Kelly says:

    I think you’ve already made a difference with your words. Sometimes the written word is mightier than the spoken word. I know I have been only reading your blog for a short time, but I look forward to reading your new posts. Today, this post has helped me make a decision about the future that I have been pondering for the last couple of months. Please continue to write I know so many other people can learn and grow from your wisdom… Kelly

    • grhgraph says:

      I promise to keep writing. If it makes a difference that’s great too but mostly I write because I don’t talk much. I hope your decision brings you nothing but happiness. Thanks for commenting.

  2. gwenna says:

    You are a man of your word…get it? 😉

  3. I’m replying on the day of the World Climate March, in the lead up to the 2015 COP meeting in Paris. It’s serendipitous that I’m also finding your post – a truly moving expression of why I work so hard to be in environmental policy and science communication. I want to plant trees – physical and metaphorical – and to read writing like this reminds me that it’s worth it and important.

    Thank you for writing about this story, and keeping me inspired. It means so much. It helps me keep on trying to ‘plant the trees’. I shared this blog on twitter: https://twitter.com/mis_jp/status/670391334465724416

    • grhgraph says:

      You are too kind. I am truly grateful for your thanks. This post is one of my favorites, mainly because I was so close with my grandfather. It’s nice to know there are still wonderful people out there who care about the planet and the future of mankind. Keep planting trees and I will keep writing about it. May God bless your work.

  4. Jason Henderson says:

    Hello Guy. I’ve been remiss to check in with you for a while. I hope you are well.
    So,, Is it coincidence that Jenna found this blog, literally 1 month after I finished reading “The Old Man and the Sea” for the first time.
    My daughter of 12 (Jenna) was googling her great-grandfather (Nelson) and came across your mention of him again. She’s doing a remembrance day presentation at her school on Friday and was searching him up. He fought in the latter part of WW1. I’m going to sign up on your blog to stay in touch. Thank you again for mention of Nelson and his quote. It’s warming to know he had such great impact. For the record, I need to give my uncle Wes Henderson credit as it was he, not my father Bruce who wrote the book and planted that seed. Wes’ book was a small self published book that never sold much beyond family and friends and never held large expectations. It was a warm story about a farmer. 30 years later, who could imagine the book’s name itself would become the story.
    Please keep writing. It takes us places we never expect to see and connects us with people we would never otherwise meet.

  5. Paul Miles says:

    Dear Guy,

    I have also – fortuitously – stumbled across your blog post featuring a quote I want to use in a key place (in fact, the dedication page) on a book I am writing. My book is called “Strike Your Balance: Questions, choices and principles of balance for life in a modern world out of balance”. It’s a total of 201 questions or principles, basically an appeal for people to examine and ask questions about their own internal value system, how that system determines the way they interact with others, and finally how it helps them relate to society and the world. And with the world moving in the directions it’s currently moving, I think looking at this is something we should all be doing.

    When I quote someone (and there are two quotes attached to each of the 201 principles pages), I like to have double checked the authenticity and attribution, but also have some basic biographical details. I picked up on one site that Nelson Henderson lived from 1865-1943, and I’d like to double check that. I wonder if you could put me in touch with his family? I’d be very grateful if you could, and will happily send you a finished copy (e-book initially, then hopefully print) as thanks. (Should I just hit the ‘reply’ button under his post, perhaps?) From a bit of a glance through your blog posts, it rather looks like you would enjoy it.

    Keep writing!!


    • grhgraph says:

      I think Jason Henderson would be happy to help you. He contacted me after I wrote that blog and thanked me for using it. His email is jasonh1965@gmail.com. Feel free to tell him I made the contact with you. I would love to read your book when it’s done. Hope you continue to read my blog as well. Best of luck to you.
      Guy Horst

      • Paul Miles says:

        Thanks Guy
        Done, and I will send you a copy or an access code.(Probably around the beginning of September.)
        All the best


      • grhgraph says:

        We seem to have taken similar paths in life. I self-published a book on leadership several years ago titled, Words to Lead By. It never sold much but I really enjoyed writing it. Mostly, I wanted to share the lessons I learned in running a small printing related business for 25 years. I would be happy to send you the Word.doc of the final draft. Should I send it to the eurythmia email address or something else? I would like to stay in touch, as we seem to be kindred spirits, even though we’re half a world away. The best part about writing this blog is all the people I have heard from all over the world. It gives me hope that someday people will finally realize that we’re all in this together and fighting each other is the last thing we need to be doing. I wish you well with your book and it would be my pleasure to send you mine. Let me know how you want it sent.

      • Paul Miles says:

        Hi Guy
        Yes I agree, we do seem to have a lot in common.
        By the way, don’t take too much notice of the Eurythmia website at the moment. I’m actually surprised your email came to me through Mailchimp. I know I intended putting that in, but don’t remember actually doing it. Eurythmia has been pretty dormant for a couple of years, but will be getting revamped soon when the book is finished.
        Send your book through my eurythmia hotmail address. I’m not sure whether the website would allow anything too big through.


      • grhgraph says:

        Could you give me that email address again? I tried to send my book but gmail won’t take eurythmia.


  6. Hello Guy.
    I am new to the blogging world and relatively unfamiliar with comment-leaving etiquette, but I figured if I was moved by what you had to say I should say something in return.
    Currently, I am in the process of writing my graduation speech (okay, yes, it’s due tomorrow and there’s no way I’ll finish it, but that’s living life on the edge right?) I have had this Nelson Henderson quote as the screensaver on my chromebook for four years, and not once did I bother to figure out who Nelson Henderson was.
    Until tonight.
    Your personal story and connection with this quote makes the already powerful story even more touching. So, if it’s alright with you, I’d like to share about this post in my speech. I am honored to have read your words, and I wish you well in all your future pursuits. I pray that we can touch some hearts, influence some thoughts, and if we’re lucky, maybe even learn something along the way ourselves.
    God bless,
    ~Ethan Ashworth~

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comment is welcome. The best part of blogging is connecting with new people all over the world. I’m now friends with Jason Henderson whose grandfather was Nelson Henderson. Feel free to use anything I have written but attribution is required. I would like to read your speech some time if possible. My email is grhorst54@gmail.com. Hope your graduation day is one to remember. Please keep in touch.
      Guy Horst

  7. Spencer Williams says:

    This is beautiful.

    • grhgraph says:

      Thanks. It’s always great when I get comments on blogs I wrote years ago. It encourages me to keep writing.

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