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Texas | Columns | "Wandering"

Sayings

by Wanda Orton
Wanda Orton

Handed down through the ages, favorite old sayings seep into the way we speak.

The fun part is the way we keep adding expressions that become favorite new sayings - at times, from out of the mouths of babes.

At our house, for example, whenever we want something right this minute, we say: "I want chips now!" The "chips, now!" command has been in effect ever since granddaughter Olivia was a preschooler and one day had a particular yen for potato chips. I told her to wait, I'd get them, be patient.

She repeated the request, nicely in her sweet little girl voice.

"Wait," I said.

These went on for what I considered to be a brief interlude but apparently the wait was becoming too long for Olivia.

Finally she got right up in my face and declared in no uncertain terms, not so sweetly: "I want chips now!"

I heard her, as may have the neighbors.

Maybe I should have made her wait even longer for potato chips, but being a grandmother, ordained to spoil grandchildren, I chipped in (so to speak) and incidentally added new phrase to our family's collection of sayings.

So remember this. Whenever you really need want something done right now, say, "I want chips."

Staying with us during summer months, both grandchildren, Scott and Olivia, were involved in inspiring yet another new saying. They wanted to go swimming -- hurry, hurry. With other things to do before I took them to the pool, I told them, "Not yet ready."

They giggled. Did I mean: "Not ready yet?"

Yeah, that's what I meant and from then on I deliberately said "not yet ready" when I actually meant, "Hang on Hold your horses."

Another phrase with certain meaning in our family: "Once again."

Those two little words, through gritted teeth, were uttered by the computer guy trying to get me back on line again. The computer wasn't working and I didn't understand why.

The expert tried to explain, telling me why and what to do, but I kept asking dumb and dumber questions.

Finally, determined to repeat his instruction -- hopefully for the last time -- he said, "Once again."

Thereafter, every time I have to repeat myself to members of the family about this or that, I say it again.

Whenever describing someone who's getting on in years, at my house we say that he or she "is no fried chicken."

Obviously, the phrase "no fried chicken" sprang from "no spring chicken," but ever since someone in the family - forget who - misquoted the expression years ago, we have compared certain senior citizens to fried -- rather than spring -- chickens.

Back at The Baytown Sun, one word used to say it all: "Well."

That's what we news roomies would say with a shrug of resignation befitting various situations.

It's hard to explain. It's a little like "oh, well" but, reduced to one word, it adds a certain nuance, remindful of yet another expression, "Less is more."

Also, we could compare it with such expressions as "The way the cookie crumbles" or "Back to square one" or "If it's not one thing or another."

OK, I can't explain it so let's leave it at that:

Well.



© Wanda Orton Baytown Sun Columnist
"Wandering" May 23, 2017 column

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