This is the description my dad often gave for where he grew up. For those of you who are not familiar with the lingo, that translates to southeast Missouri. More specifically, Charleston, MO. It was in this small town, current population 5,000, that my dad was raised.
This phrase is just the first in a long list of quirky sayings that my dad regularly used. Attribute them to his home town, his family, or just his personality. Whatever the reason, there are things I will always remember him say:
“God must really love ugly people, because he sure made a lot of ‘em.” – What can I say? He was an honest man.
“Want to see an old Indian trick?” – Not too PC in this day and age, but my dad didn’t care. This question would precede the explanation of an easy way to do something (like smashing up jelly in the jar before scooping it out so it spreads easier.)
“Here ain’t somebody.” – Gazing out the window, to get you to look for someone. Followed by:
“Made ya look, ya dirty crook, ya stole your mama’s pocket book.” – Ha!
“Rise and shine! It’s time to get up in the morning!” – What I heard in grade school, before I got older, got an alarm clock, and got myself up.
“Son of a biscuit-eater!” – A light-hearted version of the more common phrase. Not the version used when doing car repairs.
“Cotton-pickin’…” – Could be followed by any person, place, or thing.
“Cotton-picker!” – Was the person, place, or thing.
“Shamed up hussy!” – Scantily clad woman.
“Naked as a jay bird!” – Pretty self explanatory if you’ve ever seen a bird.
“You’d gripe if you was hung with a new rope!” – People loved to argue with him on this one.
“Bring me back a nickel’s worth of twenties!” I never really got this one, but it was a frequent request.
“Use soap and water!” – His advice if someone announced they were about to take a shower.
“I bathe once a week whether I need it or not.” – To produce shock on listeners’ faces.
“Leave the door open and who knows what will walk in!” – When company arrived.
“Come back when ya ain’t got so long to stay!” or “No use rushin’ off in the heat of the day.” – When company left. The length of their stay did not affect what saying was used.
“Want some stump-water?” – Offering a cup of coffee.
“That’ll do ‘til you can make supper.” – After finishing a large meal, to razz the cook.
“It has a whang to it.” – Something with a funny after taste.
“My breakfast is gettin’ pretty thin.” – He hadn’t eaten in a while and was ready for dinner.
Lastly, and most importantly, on affection:
“Bless your little pea-pickin’ heart.” – I’m not sure what makes a pea-pickin’ heart different from a regular one.
“I’m proud for ya.” – Not ‘of you,’ but that’s what it meant. Man, I miss hearing this one.
“I love you with all my heart, bricks, and blood.” – This one actually originated with me. I was sitting on my dad’s lap, just barely old enough to remember it. My dad had said he loved me, and then added, with all his heart. I then asked if he loved me with all his blood, too. Yes, he answered, smiling. With the logic of a small child, I tried to come up with something else we were “made up of” and asked if he loved me with all his bricks. Thus, the phrase was born and has been used ever since.
“The only one who could love you more than me is Jesus.” – If you’re reading this and know the love of Christ, this needs no further explanation. If you do not know this love, I pray you will. There is nothing like it. It makes this by far my dad’s best saying. I am very grateful to have heard it many times. What a gift to be loved so much. What a precious phrase that has been imbedded in my mind and heart.
Thank you, Father.