Wicked Wednesday-Curiosity

Jessie-In New Hampshire where the nights have turned crisp and cool.

This month we are talking about curiosity so immediately the phrase “Curiosity killed the cat” came to my mind. This got me to thinking about favorite and or least favorite sayings. So, ladies, which sayings do you love? Hate?

Barb: My mother and her mother had a host of colorful expressions. I wish now that I’d used more of them when my kids were growing up and passed them along through another generation. One I remember particularly is that on a cloudy summer day, my grandmother would go out into the front yard and look at up the sky. If there was a patch of blue, or better two, she would pronounce, “There’s enough blue to mend a Dutchman’s breeches. Let’s go to the beach.” We were in New Jersey at the time, settled by the Dutch, so I thought maybe it went back to that, or came from illustrations of the voluminous blue pants in stories like Hans Brinker. Jessie’s question got me curious enough to look it up. Like so many of our expressions, it comes from the age of sail.

Liz: I hate anything to do with killing animals! I don’t like “kill two birds with one stone” either. I’ve been trying to change that to “feeding two birds with one loaf of bread.” There are also a lot of corporate phrases that I have grown to despise, including “out of pocket,” “Let’s circle back,” and anything to do with the word “leverage.”

Julie: My grandfather used to say this about someone who complained a lot: “He’d kick at a football game.” That makes no sense, and was likely a misquote of another phrase. But now it is family shorthand.

Edith/Maddie: I love this topic. Hugh and I agree a hundred percent with Liz that “killed the cat” has no place in anybody’s speech. I can’t remember any colorful phrases my family used. Walking along a sidewalk, kids always recited, “Step on a line, break your mother’s spine; step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” My mom’s been dead eleven years, and to this day I avoid stepping on lines and cracks.

Sherry: I love reading all of these sayings and have never heard Barb’s or Julie’s. My dad was a great one for telling jokes. I can’t even remember the joke any longer but it involved tapping one’s head and saying, “kidneys.” For a long time when someone did something silly, we’d tapped our head and say, “kidneys.” We tend to tease my husband about things–lots of things. He always pronounced “theater,” the-ATE-her and with kind of a Southern accent. One day we were driving down a road and he said, “is that a movie house?” because he didn’t want to be mocked for his pronunciation of theater. So now we tease him about that too, adding our own Southern accents.

Jessie: My parents used to mention the sky patching saying too, Barb, but they always said sailor instead of Dutchman. And, whenever he thought someone was a chronic complainer my father would declare that “he would complain if they hanged him with a brand-new rope”.

Readers, what are your favorite sayings?

26 Thoughts

  1. I was/am afraid of thunder and lightening and my dad would always tell me that it was just them bowling in heaven. My mom used a lot of Southern slang as she was from WV. My son used to tell me things were different back when the dinosaurs roamed. I’m like how old do you think I am??? I need to start teaching this to his girls and see how he likes it. The joys of being a grandma. LOL

    1. We used that one also. In fact, I told that to my dog the other day as she is scared of thunder.

  2. When I was acting goofy as a kid and making silly facial expressions, my mom used to say “Your face is going to freeze like that!”. I also remember the rhyme that Edith mentions about “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”.

  3. Love these sayings, ladies! When I was a kid and one of my 7 older siblings wasn’t happy about something, one of the others would often reply with “tough toenails.” A strange but memorable saying. LOL

  4. As a small kid, I remember we always picked our feet up at railroad crossings. This meant when we were young and small that we would jump into the front seat and put our feet up on the dashboard. As we got older, we would lay down backwards on the back seat putting our legs up the back and feet over the back window area. At the time, we thought it was just for luck, but later found out it was to find true love and not go through live as one unmarried.

    Another that most everyone knows is “Find a penny, pick it up. You will have a day of good luck.” To this day while others seem to toss loose change and walk over it, hubby and I will always bend over to pick it up regardless of where we are. Can always use a big more luck and those pennies eventually add up.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

      1. I have said and done this ever since I was a kid! And we had to cross RR tracks every day back then to go from one side of town to the other. Madeleine Spangler

  5. My Dad always looked at the sky and used the Dutchman phrase. Mom was “if everyone jumped off a cliff would you do it too…when I wanted to do what others were doing…. and she was going to say NO…My eyes did not freeze either!

  6. I want to circle back to Liz’s comment – there are so many corporate phrases and expressions that I hate. Especially since I know they don’t really mean what it sounds like they mean.

    Jessie, I’d complain is someone hung me. I don’t care what kind of rope they used.

    An express that was passed down from my grandparents to my parents was “Home, James, and don’t spare the horses.” No idea where it came from or who James is (no one in the family is named James). I fear it’s died out (don’t think my brother says it and I’ve gotten out of the habit of saying it).

  7. My mom used to say if I didn’t stop growing she would put a brick on my head. I grew up knowing most of the above-mentioned sayings and many more. And, I, too, hate all the corporate and advertising sayings and phrases that that get overused, e.g., jaw-dropping.

  8. This was great to read. To Edith, I agree with you. I still make sure that I do not step on cracks and every time that I walk up the drive, I say that saying about stepping on a crack and break your mother’s back. And mother had two back operations and a fusion in the 1950s and had to learn to walk again. So, it is doubly meaningful. To Sherry, my husband has always doe the tap the head and say “kidneys” but he would mean that he had smarts. Growing up with a father that managed 4 movie theatres (he was District manager), I pronounce it the same way as your husband and look how I spell it. Madeleine Spangler

  9. My favorite saying is, “Bless her little pea pickin’ heart.” When I was a kid, and we went somewhere and then would come home, we say “Home again, home again, singing a song.” My husband’s family did the same thing, but they would say “Home again, home again, dancing a jig.”

  10. I wrote this down, but it did not seem to post. So, if it posts twice, please forgive me. To Edith, as I walk up the drive, there is a big crack and every time I come to is, I say, “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back” and I step over it. So, I step over it. It is even more meaningful because she had two back operations, a fusion and had to learn to walk again. To Sherry, my husband always tapped his head and said “kidneys,” but he meant that he was smart. Also, I pronounce theatre just like your husband did and not only that, look how I spell it. My father was District Manager for 4 theatres in our hometown.

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