Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Things my mom and grandparents said...
near Grand Rapids, Minnesota and the farm at Arbo road

parents and grandparents and elderly neighbors and relatives...
these are the kinds of things that were both directed at me and at cousins and siblings, neighbor kids and so forth...
sayings, idioms, encouragement, discouragement and some colorful insults

Hold down the Fort
More it a 'skitch' over there, Move over a skitch
Call me anything but Too Late for Supper
You, her and the Spirit of Trouble
Batten down the Hatches
Slow as molasses
bee in his / her bonnet 
angry as a hornet
mad as a wet hen
Better than a poke in the eye
burning the candle at both ends
I brought you into this world, and....
Caterwauling (quit yer caterwauling)
Out till the cows come home
I'll bet you a nickel
If I had a nickel for every time..
smack upside the bead
sock in the eye
chase after him with a broom 
tan his hide (all the way to Sunday / all the way to town etc.) 
you're walking a thin line there
you'd better believe it (not you betcha)
that's clear as day 
like a black cat at midnight (something is hard to see, or impossible)
that's just a scratch, you want me to cut it off? (to remind us a cut hand is better than a lost finger?  who knows) 
we'll you're not going to bleed to death
as happy as a priest on Sunday
as happy as a pig in the mud / like a pig in the mud
(and sometimes, they'd mix up the two - as happy as a pig on Sunday.. which didn't make any sense at all if he was dinner!)
I'm about to put my foot down
A stitch in time saves nine
we'll (have to) get a needle and thread after it
oaks and acorns, the greatest of oaks (were once small acorns)
the apple didn't fall far from that tree
hit every branch on the (stupid / ugly) tree on the way down
I'm not sure if their family tree forks
Out in the boonies
 To the boondocks and back
The frogs are down in the crick singing to their children / singing their children to sleep
Up a creek without a paddle
Sawing logs (snoring)
That's a whole lot of downriver there (there is a lot of space to travel between the two things you just said, work, happenstances etc..) 
don't put the cart before the horse
Up with the chickens / at the crack of dawn
Get down to business (stop dallying)
Dilly dallying and lollygagging
Getting down to hard tacks (having problems to solve)
what's good for the goose is good for the gander
don't be a cuckoo-bird (idiot)
he's a real cuckoo, I tell you
don't get yourself all wound up
somebody is a real stinky davis (somebody needs to shower etc. change clothes)
quiet as a churchmouse
blind as a bat
quick as a bunny
bob's your uncle
like a moth to the flame
lonesome hang dog expression
hung out to dry 
all wrung out
you look like you're about to drop
sit down before you fall down
don't be such a wiggle worm
you got ants in your britches?
like a dog in the noonday sun 
mad dogs and Englishmen (go out in the noonday sun)
dumb as a doorknob (supposed to be doornail, right?)
running his motor (somebody is talking a lot)
standing out like a sore thumb
round the bend
over yonder
a peck and a parcel
in for a peck in for a parcel (I hear it's supposed to be pound or bushel?)
in for a penny in for a pound 
let me put my two cents in / don't you go putting your two cents in
there was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead (when she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad she was AWFUL
in two shakes of a lamb's tail 
Josephine and her flying machine (my mom's name)
down to the last morsel / down to the last drop
beat the bejeebus out of it (usually stirring while baking, sometimes rugs, old ladies said this when they wanted to emphasize but not swear)
jumping jehosephat (also old ladies) 
for the love of mike / because 'for christ's sake' was still blasphemy reserved for when everything was really bad
going down the tubes
scrape the bottom of the bowl (clean up all you have) clean your plate etc.
scrape the bottom of the barrel (try everything you can to make ends meet)
all riled up 
you scared the daylights out of me 
you scared the ever living daylights out of me (even worse)
well I'm not (just) standing here for my health 
get a move on, (nickname)
buster brown
hey there, chickie-poo
well giddy up then / get a long little dogie
we ain't got all day
we're growing icicles here!
(I've been watching) and I ain't seen nothing yet...
get crackin'
put your back into it
it's 52 pick up (you dropped everything, and I'm not helping you pick it up)
to the ends of the earth and back
michael row the boat ashore (get the job done)
a bottle of soda
a can of pop
a tin of (coffee / beans / almost any food stuff)
put a lid on it  
eat your beans
you're all full of beans
and pigs want wings
by the skin of your teeth
down in the fences (in trouble, where you aren't supposed to be)
an eye for an eye and a tooth for the tooth and the whole world will be blind...
like a month of Sundays
circle the wagons
like ships in the night
the blind leading the blind
barreling like a freight train
before you were even a twinkle in your daddy's eye
knee high to a grasshopper
getting too big for your britches
don't get your panties in a knot / shorts twisted
hitch up your sleeves and get to work (this could be pantsleeves (cuffs) for garden or shirt sleeves for dishes etc..)
reap what you sow
hold your horses
like a bat out of hell
I've got a stitch in my side
stop making such a racket
what are you doing, tearing the house down? (for making lots of noise) 
foxes and henhouses (watch out for trouble, trouble is brewing)
trouble is brewing!
the game is afoot 
what were you thinking?!  Oh right, you weren't thinking, were you....
something is about to go down over there (a fight or an accident)
can't see the nose on his face
couldn't find his (arse) with both hands
couldn't find a hole in the ground if he was standing in it
gave him the old chicken eye
I've got my eye on you
you're on my radar
that guy cold-cocked him upside the head
over the mountains and through the fields
he's a real hothead, that one
stumbling like a drunken sailor
doesn't have the sense God gave a horse
I'd trust him (only) as far as I could throw him
I will paddle you all the way to the house if I have to (very young!)
in a heap of trouble
you'd better straighten up  (and fly right)
don't make me come in there 
by the time I come in there
you're just adding fuel to the fire (you're making it worse)
stop digging yourself a hole (ie: you're not improving your situation)
if so and so jumped off a cliff, would you?
sticks and stones
wolf in sheep's clothing
pulled the wool over his / her eyes
you got yourself into this mess, I should let you get yourself out of it (followed by the story of when mom was up a tree when she was young and her dad had to talk her down branch by branch, and a reminder of where the tree was, and where she was in it)

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