Ms. Ella-ism #4 “Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip.”







“Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip,” is a funny little saying, if you didn’t understand what my mother was alluding to. Actually, the meaning of quite a few of her aphorisms were hidden unless you either knew her or she explained.  In this particular instance, she was referring to a person’s integrity. How does “blood from a turnip” relate to integrity you might ask, well I’m happy you did. Allow me to explain.

We all know people (or in the past may have been the sort of person) who consistently makes promises or commitments, they don’t keep. They tell you they will attend your event, purchase whatever you’re marketing, refer you to a colleague for a job or simply return a phone call, yet this individual doesn’t follow through.

In my younger years, I repeatedly tolerated this behavior from so called friends and even acquaintances.  I’ve been stood-up at shows, dinner, and movies. I’ve lost money after preparing hors d’ oeuvres for gatherings which no one attended, and sat by the phone, if you will, awaiting a call that never came.  I could go on but I’m sure you get my drift. Of course, when I’d had enough, I sought my mother’s wisdom.

I would go to Mom sometimes in tears over this situation complaining about the treatment I received. My mother would quietly say, “Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip.” She would then encourage me to align myself with “better” friends. She would go on to explain, some people are consistently unreliable. They will promise the moon, knowing all along they have no intention of fulfilling their word. Some mean well when they commit but lack the where-with-all to follow through. Anyway you slice it, what Mom was describing, was a lack of integrity.

People of integrity are people of their word. They usually have high moral standards and old fashioned ethics. They say what they mean, and mean what they say. If they commit to something and cannot follow up, you will receive a phone call or these days a text message alerting to the change in plans. This behavior is not only what my mother was trying to teach me about others, but instill in me as well.

How often are we invited to an event of some sort and decide not to attend, yet fail to alert the host or hostess never taking into account the preparation put into the function. I once had a older gentleman invite me to his yearly cookout. When I accepted, he looked at me and said, “Now, don’t tell me you’re coming if you’re not, because it will cost me.” I had never had anyone say that to me, but it only took one time; from then on, my word was my truth.

I’ve since grown in many ways from the days of my mother’s turnip lessons. I no longer give people second, third and forth chances to stand me up. When I find they lack integrity in the beginning, I nip the situation in the bud. I’ve found when we align ourselves with persons of integrity, our personal as well as business relationships flourish. Not only do our relationships flourish, but it encourages us to become better people as well.

The next time you find yourself dealing with someone who disappoints time and again, remember what my mother said, “Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip.” And then, move on.

Savannah J, she puts a little sass in every page. Follow Savannah on Twitter @savana74


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