“Grandma was right,” I thought as I trudged back up the driveway. Today I had a bunch of errands and I was halfway out of the drive before I remembered that the package I was going to mail was still sitting on the dining room table. Drat! Grandma had a saying: ‘If it doesn’t come out of your head, it has to come out of your feet,'” My feet were paying the price for my head forgetting the package.
Now that I think of it, Grandmas seem to have a lot of pithy sayings. One that I liked much better was: “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.”
My friend Sharon’s grandma assured us “there’s no pot so crooked that there isn’t a lid to fit it,” (on meeting a husband). My other grandma had a slightly more grim outlook on marriage: “She who marries for money, earns it.”
I started thinking of other family sayings. Mother assured me, “nothing succeeds like success.” Never worked for me since I was shy and introverted and as far as I know, not a success at anything until I got to be a grown-up. Another of her homilies was “in a depression, cash is king.” Now I can sure see the wisdom of that. We all know money talks.
When I read Dear Abby, I am often reminded of my dad’s saying, “there are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth.” My dad actually had a lot of sayings. Many involved driving. On back-seat drivers: “I never mind being told — four eyes are better than two.” That did not apply, however, to my friend Sally who would gasp or squeak whenever she saw someone standing on the curb or another car approaching the intersection. Fortunately, Sally didn’t ride with us often. Actually dad was a very good driver and taught me a lot. On the freeway “look as far ahead as you can,” “never stay behind someone you can’t see around,” and (the one I think of most often), “it’s not enough to drive your own car; you have to drive every other car on the road, too.”
One of my Dad’s sayings was “what wonderful things could be done, if nobody cared who got the credit.” My friend Lois tells me that was a Ronald Reagan saying, although I was adamant that it was my dad’s first. It’s just something my dad would say. I decided to look it up and while my dad did say it, he wasn’t the originator unless he was the reincarnation of a Jesuit priest named Father Strickland who lived in 1863. It was also repeated by and attributed to Edward Everett Hale in the early 20th century and several others. Well, darn, it’s a good thought, no matter who gets the credit for saying it first.
Another of my dad’s sayings — and I think of it often — is “it’s easy to live the other fella’s life.” Haven’t we all done that from time-to-time? I sometimes look at someone and think, “if only they would…” or “That guy really oughta…”
But one of my favorites is “Are you complaining or are you boasting?” This was particularly apropos a couple of years ago when I was at a book signing arranged by a local author and friend, Stephen Murray. (He wrote a charming little book about a day in the life of a Las Vegas wedding chapel called “Chapel of Eternal Love,” which is available on Amazon and would make a great gift for someone who enjoys short stories.) Stephen arranges book talks and signings for local authors and on this particular day there were perhaps 20 of us at the signing, all promoting our own book(s). On a day like this we all chat and sometimes buy each others books and hope to make a few sales. One man was pacing around muttering, “I’ve only sold a thousand books.” Of course those of us who had been around this block a few times figured he was lying sack of something-or-other, and I was tempted to use my dad’s line on him. However, he was so pathetic that everyone simply ignored him. Poor guy.
Maybe your family has some sayings that come to mind from time-to-time. If you want to share, use the comments section below.