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Quaint Colloquialisms November 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Life Balance, Word Play.

Pooh-With-MailbagAs I read through my grandfather’s letters, his occasional turn of phrase made me grin.

For example, instead of calling someone a jerk (or worse), you might point out that they are “trying to be a bit odd” . . .

* 12/4/55 ~ Following his retirement from post office after 30+ years of service, my grandfather shared:

I am having some little fuss over the records but feel it can be cleaned up. Both Tim and Armond are trying to be a bit odd.

I bought a 160# quarter of beef. Have it hanging down stairs. I hope we continue to eat anyway.

As a pragmatist, my grandfather obviously felt that if you didn’t starve, you were doing alright.  Here’s another example along the same lines:

* 1/1/57 ~ “I read The Bible As History and a notorious new book with a local background across the river from White River ~ Peyton Place.  The author’s husband lost his teaching job in a N.H. High School over the book.  He got another job and did not starve.”


And he dished up some good dope:

* 9/14/57 ~ “About the weekend of 25-26: I want to give you some dope on that.

* 11/26/61 ~ “So life goes on and it is foolish to brood over the mistakes we made.”

* 9/20/62 ~ “Don’t work too hard. I don’t if I can dodge it.”

He was happy to be needed . . . or not:

* 7/22/66 ~ “Margaret has gone slumming.  An Art Exhibit in Hanover and some shopping.  I did not seem necessary ~ happily.

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. granny1947 - November 2, 2014

* 9/20/62 ~ “Don’t work too hard. I don’t if I can dodge it.”
I really like your Grandfather. 🙂

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

Me too. He didn’t feel the need to do things out of a desire to impress others. A “go with the flow” kind of guy.

2. Don - November 2, 2014

“I hope we continue to eat anyway.” I had a real giggle on this one Nancy. So good. Just a wonderful practical down to earth turn of phrase. How about some more. 🙂

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

I loved that too. His way of keeping molehills in perspective without turning every problem into mountain.

OK. More it is. Next Sunday.

3. Jill Weatherholt - November 2, 2014

What a wise man. These are great, Nancy! I love the July 22nd entry…too funny!

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

One of my faves! Margaret didn’t drive, so he often acted as her chauffeur ~ he relished times when she went “slumming” with her friends so he could chill on his own at home.

4. valleygrail - November 2, 2014

I love it! From those sayings comes the texture and color of our regional languages, and often the time frame in which they were spoken. If you speak to someone long enough, you can almost always pinpoint their origin.

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

Sometimes all it takes is to ask what they ate and drank for lunch ~ grinder, sub, or hero? Pop, cola, or soda? :mrgreen:

5. Val Boyko - November 2, 2014

So tongue in cheek with a smile! Not always easy to do 😉

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

These letters are “true to form” for him. Glad that he and dad kept up the correspondence for so many years.

6. Grannymar - November 2, 2014

I was eight years old when your grandfather retired. These snippets remind me of peers of my parents, who were fond of using their own regional phrases. Thanks for sharing.

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

It is interesting how regional phrases differ:

In Vermont, “If you people are free . . . ”
In NJ, “Hey, youse guys ~ want to hang out?”
In the South, “Hi ya’ll.” “Ya’ll come back now, y’hear?”

7. Barb - November 2, 2014

I like your grandfather, he felt no need to impress and was a man in charge of himself!

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

Yes, examples of his independent Yankee ingenuity and know-how peppered his letters in the most matter-of-fact ways.

No boasting about it ~ just a statement of the what is.

8. Grannymar - November 2, 2014

Overheard in Greasy Spoon Cafe, in Northern Ireland: “Is youse uns gitting?” “Yes, usuns has our orders giv!”

Do you need a translation, Nancy?

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

Got it! Thanks for a great example of local vernacular.

9. kateshrewsday - November 2, 2014

Such wonderful turns of phrase, Nancy. I love that last one particularly.

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

Thanks, Kate. Going through the gargantuan stack of his letters was such a treat . . . especially unearthing those gems.

10. Silver in the Barn - November 2, 2014

I particularly enjoy when I read a book published years ago the antiquated phrases and terms. It’s swell!! You know I always enjoy hearing what Grandpa had to say. He was pretty swell too.

nrhatch - November 2, 2014

Thanks, Barbara! He was pretty swell. It’s been fun sharing some of his words and phrases.

11. jannatwrites - November 2, 2014

Did not starve – that’s a great barometer for things going okay (kind of puts things in perspective… sure, we don’t have an abundance of money, but we do have food!)

nrhatch - November 3, 2014

A good and useful barometer to keep in mind when things don’t go according to Hoyle.

12. Behind the Story - November 3, 2014

Oh, dear! His phrases don’t sound antiquated to me. I must be hanging around too many old people.

nrhatch - November 3, 2014

Haha! I don’t know that they sound antiquated to me either ~ but I enjoy his turn of phrase.

I’ve never heard anyone else say that someone “is trying to be a bit odd.” 😛

Behind the Story - November 3, 2014

I agree. That one is a unique turn of phrase.

13. anotherday2paradise - November 3, 2014

Your grandfather sounds like he was a stress-free man. 🙂

nrhatch - November 4, 2014

He managed stress better than many ~ he dealt with health issues, frozen pipes, busted boilers, weather woes, car accidents, final illnesses/ death of friends and relatives, financial issues, etc., with pragmatism.

In short, he didn’t get bent out of shape by every hangnail.

14. Three Well Beings - November 4, 2014

My family teases me about my own “quaint” colloquialisms. I do pepper my language with them. I think I picked them up as a child and have just repeated them so long I don’t realize they’re ancient. LOL! Not quite the same as the phrases your grandfather used, but I didn’t realize that I say , “For Pete’s sake” as much as I do, until by the time Sophia was about 2 1/2 she was saying it, and my daughter was mildly annoyed with me! The girls still say it all the time now. LOL! I really like your grandfather’s pragmatic attitude. It brings to mind some of the lovely things my own grandparents “gave us” as a legacy. I might share some of those sometime. They really did have a lot of wisdom, I think. I’ve really enjoyed your grandfather, Nancy. 🙂

nrhatch - November 4, 2014

For Pete’s Sake, Debra! Imagine the girls picking up that expression when they were no more than two! That must have been a hoot!

And much better than teaching them the stronger swear words like #$%^ and &*^%! 😛

15. diannegray - November 4, 2014

You’re uncovering a treasure trove here, Nancy! These are great 😉

nrhatch - November 4, 2014

It’s been fun unearthing his wit and wisdom.

16. Yolanda M. - November 4, 2014

‘gone slumming’ Oh man ! 😀 love him! so refined, witty and wise! I wish my hubby had a way with words like your grandfather did Nancy.

nrhatch - November 4, 2014

Isn’t that great! And if you knew my grandmother, it would be even funnier because she was “proper.”

17. Sun Temples and Druids | Spirit Lights The Way - June 17, 2015

[…] on Life & Death * Wry Observations on Dry Politics * Flying Squirrels & Other Silly Bits * Quaint Colloquialisms * DIY Projects, Work Bees, & No Cavities! * Until The Worm Turns * A Real Straight […]

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