Long Story Short: Just saying

Sitting in his chair by his window, with a knife-sharpened pencil
sticking out the top of his overalls’ middle-bib pocket, my
grandfather would look up from the ancient Bible he was reading on
rare occasions.
Most of the time when he was in that position, he was as still as a
statue. However, if I was sitting across the room pouting about
something, he’d make a point to look up.
Pouting was foreboden. And, in a quiet voice, he would look at me and
say, “I could walk to town on that lip.”
I knew then that if the pouting didn’t stop – and stop rather
immediately – things would take a sharp turn for the worse.
Of all the things my grandfather said to me when I was a child, when I
think of him, that phrase is the one that comes to mind. Maybe it’s
his perpetual joke on me – to limit my pouting these days.
Earlier this week, I thought of the staying power things grandparents
say to grandchildren have. I heard a fellow educator, who was
searching high and low for a notebook she had just had, say, “Ain’t
nothing right when your underwear’s tight — that’s what my
grandmother always said.”
Collecting other grandparent sayings from friends was easy:
— From a friend with Cajun roots, “Mais, what you frowning for? You
betta hope a Nort wind don’t pass and leave your face like dat!” and
“I went visit so-and-so, but I broke my nose.” Translated to mean that
Mawmaw went visit so-and-so, but they weren’t home.
— I’ll get on you like stink on a skunk. (Used by an adult about to
reprimand a child.)
— He sure is a huntiful looking thing! (Said by the husband of my
high school geometry teacher when referring to any man with a beard.)
— You make a better door than you do a window. (Said to a child
blocking someone’s view.)
— My friend, Mart Martin, said every time he was getting ready to
drive back home from his grandmother’s house she’d say, “Watch out for
those nuts comin’ out those side roads.” He and his sister and still
repeat the phrase – and I think I’ll use it too.
My husband’s family has their share of Spanish sayings. Long ago I
learned sayings from different languages most often ring just as true
once translated.
— Nunca digas de esta agua no bebere. (Don’t ever say you won’t take
a certain path.)
— Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres (Tell me who you hang out
with, and I will tell you who you are.)
My husband said when someone commented on his mother’s age, she would
say, “Como tu te ves, yo me vi. Y como tu me ves, tu te veras.” (How
you are now, I used to be. How I am now, you will be.) These days,
that sentiment rings truer every day.
If you’ve got a good one, send it my way.

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