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Bruce’s Maxim’s and Sayings, As Remembered by His Wife and Children

bruce polly gerencser our fathers house west unity
Polly and Bruce Gerencser, Our Father’s House, West Unity, Ohio Circa 2000

I asked my partner, Polly, and our six adult children, to make a list of the maxims and sayings I have used and repeated over the years.


I can’t never did anything

I work on information.

Not bad for a white guy.

You are a gentleman and a scholar.

Do it right the first time.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

Use the right tool for the job.

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

Who had it last?

You got it out, you put it away.

No blood, no foul.

Are you bleeding? Stop crying.

Pay attention.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Did you get the biggest possible screwdriver?

Hold the light! [when helping Dad work on cars]

What would Jesus do?

Jasnathjai-whatever your name is.

Go wait in the car. I’ll be right out. [two hours later]

I’ll be right back.

Outside. Now!

Keep your hands [or feet] to yourself.

This too shall pass.

Put the lime in the coconut.

Ask your mom.

Time to lean, time to clean.

When will dinner be ready?

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    “Jasnathjai-whatever your name is.” Ha! My mom would do something similar, mixing together all of her kids’ names when she was yelling at just one of us. It was funny to hear and funny to see her embarrassment as she realized what she was doing. She also had the habit of giving us “Southern Belle” type names, using our first names in pairs, like “Chris Mary” or “Lisa Gina” when she was again yelling at one of us. Must be something parents do, eh?

  2. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    “Do it right the first time.”

    My mother was big on always getting stuff right the first time, but she’d had an upbringing and work history that strongly supported that maxim. Her anxiety level, never low, could be pushed to the moon if she was following a recipe and suddenly discovered she didn’t have an ingredient. It meant winging it, and winging it made it much harder to get something right the first time.

    My father has a much more nuanced view; he observed that most things worth doing took time, effort, and possibly more than one try. His motto was “Get it right in the end.” He encouraged me to keep trying to find a solution to a problem until I did.

    On this point, I am my father’s daughter.

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