As devised by yours truly for the RevGalBlogPals, but anyone can play!
This morning I had a moment in which I found myself wanting to reply to my teenager the way my father used to reply to me. Most of us have some classic family phrases or retorts or truisms handed down from parents to children.
Name five things you used to hear your mother or father (or even a grandparent) say, especially things you might be surprised to hear coming out of your own mouth.
My two grandmothers and my mother all used the following expressions:
“Pretty is as pretty does.”
“Make yourself useful as well as decorative.”
They were double-edged swords for me. On the one hand, I do hold the philosophical position that our actions are far more important than our appearance (Shh! Don’t tell MIM!!)
On the other hand, if you want to be “pretty” in that system, which I would have taken to mean appreciated and adored, you have to work very hard on doing everything just about perfectly. That has stayed with me, and it’s not always a good thing.
The other three are from my dad, and even though they have an edge, perhaps, I love remembering them all.
“I don’t care what anyone else is doing; I care about what you’re doing.”
This usually came when I was using the behavior and choices of peers as a defense or excuse. It was rigorous and logical and extremely lovingly delivered.
“Don’t give me any of that ‘who-struck-John!'”
I googled “who-struck-John” this morning, and it means b.s., which is what I always assumed. It’s also the name of a band. I think he said this more to my brother than to me, but you couldn’t be mad when he caught you speaking bu-, um, baloney, because the expression was so funny!!!
And finally, when we got the better of him, he would say with a grin,
“There’s nothing I hate worse than a smartass kid.”
By which he meant exactly the opposite, “There’s nothing that pleases me more than a clever take on the situation.”
All these speeches of my father’s were made more charming by his incredibly thick drawl, which I will try to express phonetically for you now:
“Theh-yuh’s nuh-thin’ Ah hey-ut wooooohhhsssshss tha-yun uh smah-yut ah-yus keeeee-yuuuuddddud.”
Then stretch it out further.
And a little bit further.
And just a little bit moh-wah.