Friday, April 24, 2015

Old Time Sayings - Are They Part of Your Heritage?

Many of us grew up hearing odd sayings from our parents and grandparents. Taken literally by outsiders, they usually made little sense, but to those of us living in the South or had parents from the South, they were perfectly understood.

My grandmother Joyce had several she would pull out when the occasion warranted. Many of these sayings pertained to the weather. If the sky was getting dark, she would say, "It's coming up a cloud."  Other times she would recite the following: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning." I wonder how accurately the sky can predict the weather.

If Grandma was planning to do something, she always added the word " fixing." In other words, if she was going to town, she was "fixing to go to town" and she might add the word "dreckley" to the end of the sentence to tell when she was going. Now, Grandma lived very little in the South, actually just a few months were spent in Arkansas. The family was there just long enough for my father to be born in January 1913. Then they returned to Hardin County, Illinois, just across the Ohio River from Crittenden County, Kentucky and Hardin County's population included many folks from the other side of the river. Also, her mother, Mary Ann Wolstenholme Smith, was born in Davidson County, Tennessee so perhaps those old sayings came from her.

Grandma had a couple of other sayings that are probably familiar to you. If someone didn't move fast enough, she would say they were "slow as molasses" and if they were angry, she would say they were "mad as a wet hen." There is another one she often said that is my favorite. If someone had their dress on backwards, she would said it was on "hind part before." That is so much more colorful than saying backwards.

Another one I have heard - not from Grandma, but from a Kentucky friend. Describing someone who is contrary and hard to get along with is said to be "meaner than a junkyard dog."

Are there sayings in your family that have been passed down to your generation? Do you use them, too?

Published 24 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Jay Edward Morris said...

"Couldn't hit 'em in the ass with a red apple." This indicated someone who thought highly of themselves.

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

Ha! Now that is colorful! Thanks, Jay.

kelonearth6277 said...

My mother always uses the saying that we kids "didn't believe fat meat was greasy". It took me my entire chldhood to understand she meant we didn't believe her when she said something.
Crazy saying, but I get it now.

Mr. Reasonable said...

"He couldn't grab his ass with both hands." Indicated an incompetent person.

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

Thanks, Kelly. That's a new one for me!

Vickie Beard Thompson said...

Love these and all the ones you mentioned Brenda I have heard before and still use some of them to this day.

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

Your Southern heritage is showing, Vickie!