Old Family Sayings

Do you say vanilla or vanilla? This question started a discussion at the table with friends yesterday. We concluded that it might be a regional thing. The discussion then evolved into a reminiscence of old sayings that may or may not be remembered by everyone. Sayings and expressions that are attributed to specific family members are the most fun to recall.

Had my grandmother been at that table, she would have commented, Vanella or vanilla? Just call it wheel barrel and go on. What? She originated this phrase when she was teaching her students in a one-room school to read. When they came to a word they couldnt figure out, shed say, Just call it wheel barrel and go on. Well, she had only gone through the 8th grade herself.

My grandmother was also famous in our family for exclaiming, Peoply peoply, got more problems than anybody. This would come in response to hearing about somebodys troubles. When 1 of us kids would fret about something in our appearance, say a pimple or a spot on our shirt, shed assure us, It will never be noticed on a galloping horse. I believe the original phrase was from a galloping horse. Every time I walk into a crowded store that seems to be wall to wall shoppers, I laugh, as I remember what Grandma would say at times like this. they dont have any. Whenever I have a day completely to myself, with no appointments and no commitments, a day when I can do chores Ive put off like cleaning out closets, I hear my grandmother say, Sometimes, you just need a day to make soap.

My aunt Lynn was a writer of fiction, having a fabulous imagination. I think it was she who taught me to say, whenever there was an unpleasant task to do, Lets dont and say we did. She wasnt teaching me to lie, just to laugh about wishing we could.

Then there were expressions my family used that Ive never heard from anyone else. that jangles my ankles, or That makes my teeth itch. We say this when something Is extremely annoying, like chalk screeching on a blackboard. I bet you have family sayings too that are unique to your own clan. But Ill bet you have never heard the ones that my dad used all the time. When Id have trouble pulling open a particularly heavy door or lifting something, hed say, You need a brick in your pocket. When the coffee was too strong, he would say, It will put hair on your chest. This was always hilarious to me as a little girl, but I find myself quoting him all the time. The expression he was credited for, as being an original was thats a very pregnant idea. I used to think it was funny, but now I understand that what he meant was an idea that was full of promise and possibility. Hed say it in a kind of jokey way, but thats what I think he meant.

When someone was rude to him, or inconsiderate, or even unfriendly, hed tell about it this way. No hello, how do you do, or kiss my foot. Imagine someone coming up to you and saying Kiss my foot, or maybe some other part of your body, which was really what my dad would say. We always laughed about that. I hope this has made you smile today and recall some of your own family favorites.

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2 thoughts on “Old Family Sayings

  1. You came up with some charmers, and i hope you don’t mind if I adopt a few. In return, here’s my Dad’s favorite:
    “It’s enough to make a man think!”

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