I was talking with my mother-in-law yesterday about a very vocal mutual friend and I said, "She can talk the hair off a cat." She got tickled and almost lost her breath laughing. She said she had never heard that expression before. That made me think. Wonder where I got the saying from? I don't remember, but I've said it all my life. My family is rich in eloquent quotes. They made some of them up and I'm sure others were adopted as needed. There's nothing like the perfect quote to really make a conversation pop. Why settle for boring exchanges when you can brighten the story with a well-placed bit of country wisdom?
I'd have to say my mother is one of the queens of quotes. I could fill a book with her colorful observations. One of my favorites from Moma is "those kids weren't raised up, they were jerked up." I can't see a misbehaving child without thinking the same thing. Throughout my teen years, she liked to remind me that I couldn't "see an inch in front of my nose." For the quote impaired, that means you can't see the big picture. You're not evaluating all the facts. You're just seeing what you want to see. That one could also be used along with "blind in one eye and can't see out of the other." Wise words. And probably very true when I was younger. Hopefully, I've developed some "good common horse sense" as I've matured.
My father had his own words of wisdom passed down through generations. "If you lie down with dogs, you're gonna get fleas." You can't argue with that one. Then there was "You made your bed. Now lie in it." Again, short and straight to the point. But there were others that weren't so crystal clear. For instance, "a new broom sweeps clean." I think an old broom does just fine and I'm not interested in sweeping anyway. Or making the bed for that matter. What about "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." He used that one when he wanted to explain the odd behavior of anyone he didn't agree with at the time. He constantly told me "can't is not a word." I went to school and found out it was. That was the end of that one. Daddy liked to caution us that "it's the bullet that wasn't in the gun that kills you" and "it's the car that wasn't coming that runs over you." You might have to think about those two, but you'll find he was right. Nobody steps out in front of a car on purpose. Well, unless they're blind in one eye and can't see out the other.
In my family, you learned something new every day. I grew up finding out there were people who "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket"and others who would "cut off their nose to spite their face." You really shouldn't "beat a dead dog" or "count your chickens before they hatch." I'm not sure why you would want to do either of those but I'm pretty sure the most important thing I learned is that you "don't burn your bridges behind you" or you will find yourself "up a creek without a paddle." Apparently, that is not a good place to end up. It was very important that I didn't hang around with the wrong crowd because "one bad apple will spoil the whole bunch." There was an awful lot of stuff to remember. Moma and daddy always told me I would "argue with a fence post" and I was always "making a mountain out of a molehill." I think I'm still guilty of both of those even after all these years. Every now and then I would develop a nasty attitude and be told that I had my "tail on my shoulder." Now that's a difficult move to pull off. Don't try it at home. I don't remember how often I was reminded "God don't like ugly" and "put that in your pipe and smoke it." Whenever I wanted to do something they thought I was too young to do or I became nervous about something I was told "you're still wet behind the ears" and "you're too young to have nerves." That ended my complaints pretty quickly.
So, all these years later, I find myself using these little gems every day. It just comes naturally. My kids know that "you are who you associate with" and "the truth will always come out." Most discussions when they were young ended with "because I said so." If you're "happy as a pig in slop" life can't get much better. And if your food is so good it makes you want to "slap your moma" it means you're in "hog heaven."
I could go on forever, but I'll end here with my absolute favorite quote from Moma. Now for those easily offended, get over yourself. This is good and you might need to use it one day. You never know. Ready? Here goes. "Don't pee on my head and try to tell me it's raining." Now there's a lot of depth to that quote. In other words (without using the word "pee" again) she's saying "Don't try to pull something over on me. I'm not going to fall for it." You gotta love it. That kind of wisdom doesn't "grow on trees." It's from the heart. I'm just saying.......