Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In Like a Lion

The storm of this past Monday (nicknamed by our local news people as Megastorm Monday) was a real nor'easter, and we got hit with some bluster. It brought us all a snow day, which we all enjoyed so much that Ada told me that night, "I hate to put this great snow day to bed." My thoughts exactly. Above is a shot of Esme contemplating walking into a snowdrift...

While we were watching the reports of the storm's approach, I told Ada that it looked like March was roaring in like a lion. She was puzzled and then delighted as I explained the old saying to her. She looked up and me with a big smile and concluded, "Well, Mommy, then March will end like a lamb. And it will be spring."

I love watching her discover the old nuggets of expression people have been using for years. Call them trite, but many of them give a sage order to the progression of life. Even if I don't embrace the social values embedded in a few of these gems, I admire how effectively they convey those beliefs.

My mom has a wealth of these, and they come to her (as most of these do) by way of a grandmother. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Rain before seven, sun before eleven." My August birthday is at the height of thunderstorm season, and as I child I would chant this to myself if I woke early to a rain shower.

"Whistling girls and cackling hens, both will come to no good ends." My grandma would say this to me, conspiratorially, as something that her mother said to her. But my grandma and I were kindred spirits, and superb whistlers, if I do say so myself. She was so amazing that before she got dentures, she could whistle two tones simultaneously. Ah! I still aspire to such a grand thing!

"An apple doesn't fall far from the tree." An oldie, and one everyone knows--but not as true as we imagine, which explains some people I know...
Wild apples, the kind grown from seed and not grafted, are notoriously heterogeneous. This means the seed that grows from a fallen apple is likely as not to be absolutely different from the tree on which it grew. It may not fall far, but chances are it will be something altogether other from its parent tree. Incidentally, this is why wild apples are so persistent. Consider for yourself how this might apply to the ways you differ from your parent tree...

What are some of the expressions that have been repeated in your family? Now's the time to delurk! Really, I'd love to hear I love your stories!

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Irene Latham said...

Hi Kirie - I love old sayings. My book Leaving Gee's Bend features bits of wisdom from the main character's mama. My favorite in the book is "talking about fire don't boil the pot." True, eh? :)

Judy said...

Hey kirie

Tell Ada it is sunny and almost 45 today and suppose to be in the 60 range tomorrow. Could spring be far. We are going to the garden show on Monday.. I'm ready.
Have you ever heard
I'm only giving this:
A lick and a promise. The girls at work laughed at me because they had never heard that one. I explained it was doing something fast with the promise to return and maybe get it done better later.
There are so many Grandma used and the girls know them which I'm so happy about.

Kirie said...

Irene: That's a saying that is new to me--I love it! It reminds me of one I used with my students when explaining my unconventional approach to grading:

"No pig ever got fatter just for stepping onto a scale."
This was one I got from David, a favorite professor from graduate school. Still rings true for me today...

Thanks for sharing yours!


Kirie said...

Judy: I will pass that on to Ada. We just got in from the front yard, where she tells me, "Hey Mom, it's really warm out today!" This before she stripped her coat off to play in the ice and snow on the driveway. Her temperature runs hot: the high today was 32 degrees F! I managed to hustle her in before too long--now she wants some hot chocolate and some Italian ice. Go figure.

I do like that saying, too, and it's one I've heard a lot. I find it's hard to get people to follow up with the promise part, sometimes, though!

Hope the spring keeps coming for you--you've had a long cold winter there!


Lisa said...

The pictures are adorable (saw them on Facebook).

Both my parents were good for having sayings,but sometimes they weren't so nice. ;-D

My dad would say "I'd like to buy you for what you're worth and sell you for what you think you're worth.

And my mother - when she wanted to remind us girls to behave ourselves, would say "Make sure your boyfriend keeps his pencil in his pocket." There was much eyerolling.

Once, my sister finally said to Mom, "If it's nothing bigger than a pencil, he can keep it in his pocket!"

We still still laugh about that. My sister and I, I mean. Mom? Not so much.

The Seeker said...

Kirie, lovely you, hope everything is ok.

Oh I love old sayings and I always remember them according the situation.

We have many in portuguese ;)

Big hug


angela said...

Hi Kirie

This post brought back memories - many, many sayings. I certainly did discuss the lion/lamb weather with Daddy on Sunday - cute picture of Esie - glad you had fun on your snow day - wish I were with you.
It is 60 here this afternoon - sunny and it really feels like spring.
Love, Mom

The Storialist said...

Before going to bed when I was little, my parents always said the famous, "Sleep tight! Don't let the bedbugs bite!"

And then added one, "But if they do...bite them back! If they don't, then we won't!" :)

What a sweet post.

An August birthday, eh? Me too!

susan said...

Of course, I remember the saying 'Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. Red skies at night, sailor's delight.' It's funny how often it's true even if you don't live near the sea.

Then there's 'Don't get your knickers in a twist' which got to be pretty well known.

The picture of your daughter is beautiful.

La Belette Rouge said...

In psychological testing these are used as a means of assessing intelligence. Something about that tickles me. I love that understanding metaphor is proof of higher intelligence.

I hope that the lamb goes to bed and that spring will soon come.

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