In Larry McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove, Gus posts a sign at the entrance to the ranch he co-owns. He thinks the sign needs a but more flair, so he selects a phrase at random from a Latin primer, and he adds it to the bottom, just below the disclaimer: “We Don’t Rent Pigs!”
The phrase he copies: “Uva uvam vivendo varia fit.”
Before I knew that the Latin was replete with errors, I asked a friend to look into the phrase’s meaning. She asked a college-level Latin instructor, who apparently glanced at it, recognized it, and replied, “A grape earns its color by leading a grape’s life.”
I loved it. Or, rather, I did until I learned that Gus apparently wasn’t much good at copying Latin, and that it’s unlikely that the original phrase meant anything of the sort … if indeed it meant anything. (This is fiction, after all.)
But I still love the translation, accurate or not. To me, it means that experience is the proper reward for a life of diligence. Diligence to a job, a calling, a way of life. That’s what we hope to share with you here: more than two decades of website design experience.
For more on this peculiar phrase, see this related post from another blog.