Category Archives: proverbs

Philip Tryon.


We may never know, Jim said.

I’m sure Philip wouldn’t have known, either, when he was four. Back then, in 1981, he was busy at the computer writing a story and, since the machine had managed to erase the whole thing, he had to stay right there until he could rewrite every word.

Then again, when he was six, at the piano, picking out every song he’d heard, so many tunes, the ones that seemed simple and the ones that sounded complicated, all of them.  Hunched intently over the piano keys, he’d not have had even a moment to know anything else, for sure.

Nor would any other considerations have crossed his mind as he stood in the middle of the bass section, on the Warner stage, sending forth with his choirmates the Brahms Requiem accompanied by the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra. In the midst of singing a mass for the dead, Philip was way too alive to know anything at all about what could never be known by anybody else.

In fact, Philip was extremely alive. Word was he had been born with a raw intelligence far superior to any other in his realm. His mind being his most interesting companion, he was easily engrossed for hours, days, weeks, and months, never once being distracted by any notion of time passing. By the time he was seven, he likely knew that time did not pass, that both space and time were on a continuum and that light was both a particle and a wave.

In truth, that which could never be known had long escaped his concern. All Philip knew was that whatever could be known reached his understanding with effortless ease, only to be quickly sorted, catalogued, and compartmentalized ad infinitum, all to be cross referenced later when integrated thought was required to feed theoretical proposition.

It was in just such pursuit that Philip apprehended the Bible. Having read every other book in his household, likely twice within any twenty four hour period, this one kept him fascinated longer than the entire Baroque and Classical repertoire combined. Having been taught to take this holy book with very great and sober respect, his allegiance to its prophets, psalms, proverbs and letters of admonishment was total; he’d memorized essentially the entire King James canon before even the most earnest had finished the study of one gospel.

Most could hardly grasp what Philip could know, about anything. One thing is certain: nobody knew Philip. Not like Philip did.

All anybody did know was that the man called by his name showed up for family get togethers, eager and smiling, bringing homemade cookies and board games, and then to work the next day, still smiling, ready to greet his loyal customers at the grocery check out with pointed acknowledgement of their families by each of their names and often in the language of their birth, regardless from which remote country they had come. Those who might have been inclined to observe would have seen a tall, slender, fair skinned gentleman, applying to tasks at hand his devoted energy until the last chicken had been bleached and packaged and the store had closed for the day. Still others might have seen him enter his solitary room at home, perhaps with more than one book under his arm, only to disappear into the vast depths of the comprehensive universe of his own company for the remainder of the evening.

Philosophers have been known to declare that one can never truly know anything but oneself, to which one should then be true.

Jim was likely right about one thing. We would never know what Philip finally knew.

Never know why. Why Philip jumped. Why he jumped to his death, from the bridge at Wintergreen Gorge, sometime between Saturday night and Sunday when they found him.

But, Philip did.





” Now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.”  — I Cor. 13:12


© 1/30/18     Ruth Ann Scanzillo.    All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Respect the living, and the dead.  Thank you.










Oh, Fortuna.

Yes. Karma happens. And, it doesn’t matter which kind you’re due.

At about 1:30 am, steamrolling through the rest of the latent spring cleaning, I spied a Chinese cookie fortune on the floor. Picking it up, I smiled ironically at the sage advice on its face. Then, inspired by the Hershey’s chocolate still coursing through my arteries even at such an hour, creative juices set the ball sliding.

I looked around for my phone camera.

The lighting wasn’t right. It never is, when the flip phone is the device – that d.a.n.g shadow. Squirming into all contortions to get just the right angle and focus, my body must have turned too quickly for the blood sugar. Foot, caught in the loop of the sack holding the water bottles, I lunged – against the Schwinn 26″ cruiser sitting in the middle of my kitchen – and plunged to the floor, face down by the garbage can.

Even tripping over, yes, the Stability Ball (?) last winter was no match for this mess.

Yes. Several days ago, also during deep spring cleaning [Note to Self: back off the internal condemnation about clutter, alrighty then?], I’d unearthed my beautiful diamond engagement ring from amongst the rubble of the past. Wearing it proudly, stubbornly, every day since, I’d only spent a fleeting moment considering the relative propriety of doing so, seeing as my ex-husband had been remarried for years. But, the ring was gold, after all; best to keep such valuables close to the vest.

However, on this morning, the God of the Universe rendered all human logic void against the crystal clarity of illumination. Upon impact with the floor, that diamond – prongs up on my ring finger – made puncturing contact with my face. Through the optic stars, and the stunning silence: blood. All over my hands. Blood, dripping all over the floor.

The sight in the bathroom mirror, in sharp contrast to the usual vanities, was ghastly. Mashing a crispy paper towel against my chin, I tore out the door, down Cherry, around the cemetery and, for the third time in five weeks, across to the ER.

They all know me, over there. Every head followed my moaning face as it floated past. Tick bites, two at once. Garden rake tines, to the ball of the foot. Hives, to the throat. All this, to the people who save the lives of the socially unimportant, the hapless, and the homeless, every day: a night at work. Their stride was set.

Those assigned to my case were born to gentility and compassion. The nurse, who held my hand. The young surgeon’s eyes, deep teal, his manner careful and patient centered. And, the supervising physician, a lord of insight and empathy.

Two hours later: two deft stitches, just under the chin. And, some serious, jaw bruising bone pain.

At least the tetanus shot from the rake attack was still fresh.

Arriving home at 4:36 am, I quietly slipped the diamond off my finger and placed it under the rest of the costume jewelry. Like the nurse said: the marriage hadn’t worked, either.

That photo?

Fortune cookie:

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

Superimposed over:

a pile of coins.

This, my friends, is a case of the artist literally falling for her art.
And, a scar under the chin to nurse for the next six months, just for humility.  Gold, silver, diamonds….earthly fortunes, only for time.










© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   7/12/16    All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Trust me; you don’t want to steal pain.