Thursday, January 17, 2013

There's a Saying for That


My father is a man of few words and preserves them for life's big moments. For the small-to-medium sized ones, he relies on a dozen or so sayings to convey his reactions and opinions.

When a third-grade bully, high school frenemy, or crankyboots boss does something that baffles or hurts his children or grandchildren, my father gathers the confused one close and says, "They're out there." He doesn't mean aliens. "They" refers to those who don't have his sense of honor and justice. He set the bar high for both.

He executes an eye roll and says "There goes another flock of them" every time a rabid  but incoherent group asserts its rights but pooh poohs the rights of others. Recently, though, he's used the saying for the Canadian geese that dine on his just-sown grass seed.

For decades, my father has done the food shopping and is always willing to try new convenience foods. He's also a fan of labor-saving household appliances. His saying, "less work for mother," is popular with my mom, his three daughters, and one daughter-in-law. When he and my mother used to visit Houston, he'd want to take my little family out to dinner every night. I'd protest. "But, Dad, I made a turkey." My father couldn't understand why I'd do such a thing. "We'll go out. Less work for mother."

My husband adopted "less work for mother" and won't bat an eye when I ask him to pick up a pizza on Friday night. Thanks, Dad.

Does anyone in your family using sayings as verbal shorthand? What expressions would your family trademark if they could?

15 comments:

Karen McFarland said...

"Less work for mother." I like the way your Dad communicates Pat. Did he rub off on the hubby? My DH is also a man of few words. So few, that he doesn't usually repeat himself. Well, unless I don't hear him, which for some reason happens from time to time. And for the life of me, I don't know why that is. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Are you saying you practice selective listening, Karen? You just spilled the secret to a long and happy marriage.

alarnarosegray.com said...

Your father is a winner! Wow! I have to admit, my father is the opposite when it comes to cooked meals... He cannot see the point of spending money and eating sub standard food when Mum could just cook it... Poor ol' Mum, we say.

But that's off topic. There's many a time one of Mum's tried and true sayings pop into my mind. "A job worth doing is worth doing well"... but there were many more. Funny how they stick!

Jennette Marie Powell said...

My husband is a man of many words LOL. He does have his sayings, but none as clever as your dad's, and most are political, so I'll just leave it at that. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Alarna! Yes, it's funny how those sayings stick. My mom's also a fan of "A job worth doing is worth doing well." Of course, your mom does such a good job cooking, your father never wants to eat out. Sigh.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I'm laughing, Jennette, and my imagination's revving. Hmm, I wonder what those sayings are.

Coleen Patrick said...

I love 'less work for mother'!! Few words but wow, what a way to make you feel like you matter. :)

Lark Howard said...

Love it!

I'm especially fond of the Texas/Southern expression--
"Bless her/his heart" which is either preceded or followed by an insult. For example:
That girl is dumber than a box of dirt, bless her heart.

Guess the blessing makes the insult less insulting.

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

"They're out there." I love that! Yes they are out there - everywhere it seems.

I don't recall off the top of my head any particular sayings, but my dad tends to mix up words. I find myself biting my tongue, hard sometimes, not to correct him. Or sometimes he'll slur 2 words together into one silly word but he's not doing it to be funny he just gets mixed up.

I wish my family had adopted that philosophy though, less work for mother. I could use a few of those days. In order to get them I have to make "honey do" lists and then listen to several minutes of whining. Oh well, I love my life!

Thanks for the fun post!

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Louise Behiel said...

your dad sounds like a lovely man. Mine didn't have any sayings that are worth repeating.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Coleen, you're right. "Less work for mother" showed me and my sisters and brother how much our mother mattered to our dad. Later, his grown daughters and daughter-in-law got the same treatment. We're so lucky.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark! I was in Texas for a couple of years before I figured out that "bless his/her heart" was meant to soften an insult. Yeah, I'm quick on the uptake like that.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patricia! Sometimes mixed-up words are more evocative than the originals. A neighbor pronounces himself "flustrated." He's flustered and frustrated. You have to like the combination.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Louise, you're filling your grandchildren's ears with sayings worth repeating. Good for you.