This wonderful truth I heard for this first time just this way at a speech given a few weeks ago by Adrienne Arsht at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon here in Miami. Ms. Arsht is a hugely generous philanthropist and patron of the arts.
She said that her father had said this to her. The idea stayed with me after the speech, but not the exact quote. So I later contacted her office and Ms. Arsht's assistant gave it to me exactly.
In searching around the internet for this quote, I came across an essay on Reynolds Price by Peggy Meyer, Librarian Assistant at Lake Tahod Community Library. Here is what Ms. Meyer said about her reading of Price's collection of essays entitled Feasting the Heart:
My favorite [Reynolds Price] essay . . . is “A Motto,” and it sums up the feeling of the entire book. He recounts the story of an Irish friend of his. This friend had just found out his mother was dying and made the journey back home. While visiting, one night he checked in on her, saw she was resting quietly, and turned to leave without disturbing her. As he was about to exit, he heard her say, “Remember: I only regret my economies.”
Reynolds Price took this as a personal motto and says he has “never regretted a splurge in my life, only my stingy-hearted choices at the sun-baked crossroads of money and passion. In love and friendship, food and travel, art and commerce, thanks and praise…I only regret my economies still.”