Monday, December 11, 2017


Phone conversation today:

Friend:  "I sent you a message on Facebook and never saw an answer."

I:  "I answered and told you I was forwarding your message to Judy."

Friend:  "I never got it;  hey, is that your wedding picture on Facebook?"

I:  "Yes;  why?"

Friend:  "You look like Karen Carpenter."

I:   "Well, I was thin then, but not anorexic."

Friend:  "Weren't we all?"

I:   "Which one, thin or anorexic?  In my fantasy life, I looked like Natalie Wood."


Sunday, December 10, 2017


HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Emily Dickinson, born December 10, 1838.

See a delightful article from Sarah Lyall from The New York Times titled Alone At Emily Dickinson's Desk:

Saturday, December 9, 2017


 The following comes from a site called Interesting Amazing Facts.

Urine was used to to tan animal skins, so families 

would all pee in a pot and once a day the pot would 
be was taken and sold to a tannery, thus, if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor",  but worse 
than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot as they “didn’t have a pot to piss in”;  thus they were \the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and 

complain because the water temperature isn’t just 
how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in
May, they still smelled pretty good by June.  However, since they were
starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body
odor, hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had
the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then
the women and finally the children.  Last of all the babies. By then the
water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it, hence the saying,
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats
and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it
became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the
roof, hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a
real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess
up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over
the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt floors, hence
the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get
slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to
help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until,
when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of
wood was placed in the entrance-way, hence, a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always
hung over the fire.  Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.
They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat
the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and
then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been

there for quite a while, hence the rhyme: "Peas porridge hot,
peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."  Sometimes they
could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came
over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth
that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to
share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter.  Food with high acid content
caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning
death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or
so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the
loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking
along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial..
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family
would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake
up, hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to
bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a
bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of
25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized
they had been burying people alive, so they would tie a string on the wrist
of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and
tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night ("the
graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, "saved by the
bell "or was considered a "dead ringer." 

At some time in Europe men made a living by wearing a huge  cape and carrying 
a chamber pot.  A gentleman would walk up, pay the man a few pence, be engulfed 
by the cape for privacy, and then relieve himself in the pot. Mel Brooks played such
 a character, Le Garçon de Pisse or "piss boy", in his film History Of The World, Part 1.

Who said history couldn't be interesting?

Friday, December 8, 2017


When we moved into our current home, we could not afford to buy the dining room furniture I wanted, thus the middle of the room sat empty for more than a year, with only my grandmother's antiques: the drop-leaf table, "3-corner table", and "library table" situated against the walls. 

Any meals we had were eaten at the kitchen table. I wasn't about to serve food on my grandmother's antiques; besides, I had no chairs to go with them.

A brother-in-law of one of my brothers was "touring" the house and he said, "You should get a dining room set like ours." I asked, "Do you have cherry furniture?" He said, "No, we have oak." I said, "But the built-in hutch and buffet are cherry." He said, "But ours is really nice; it would look good in here." I said, "It probably is nice, but it wouldn't match our decor." "Well, why don't you just get cherry?",  he asked, I thought, rather disdainfully. I considered saying, "I haven't found exactly what I want.", but instead said, "I can't afford it."

From the look on his face you would have thought that I had just admitted to an ignominious secret. Then, I saw a look of pity from both him and his wife.

Asudden, I felt very liberated. Imagine, being able to tell the truth.

This was a defining moment in my life. When people are so rude to ask those kind of questions, I always answer, "I can't afford it!"

Thursday, December 7, 2017


This article was published in Sue's News in 2011:  


Yesterday, my brother Norman used the word "fetid" in conversation and my husband said he'd never heard the word before. Norman and I both laughed and said we'd heard it from our mother all of our lives. It is such a perfect word because it totally conveys what one is thinking, 

I think back to my mother's wondrous vocabulary. My brothers and I have a myriad of words which she used which cannot be found in any dictionary. Oftentimes we'll use a word and ask, "Is that a real word or one of Mother's?" For years, I thought the word "BOLLIX" was just one of my mother's words, but I was looking for another word in the dictionary and there was "bollix"--a perfectly good Anglo-Saxon word--I called Mother and exclaimed, "Mother, bollix is a real word!" My mother would always say we were "bollixed around from pillar to post" after a tornado destroyed our home.

Some of my mother's words which are NOT in any dictionary:

TOPLEY: When cooking, that's the amount of flour or other dry ingredient which is left when you grab an amount from the canister--it's the amount left in your cupped hand--when making pie crust it's the amount put on the bread board between rolling the crust.

BRIGGITY: Norman says it means smart-assed; I think it means that one is "too big for one's britches", but you get the meaning. Duke agrees with me.

HOIKY: My mother told the story of how someone spat on her sister's new purple coat and their mother wrote a letter to the school complaining about the person who'd committed the disgusting act; she wrote that it was a "hoiky gob".  EEEEEEOOOOOW! Oh, it certainly conveys the disgusting act! Norman said he used the phrase "hoiky gob" at work quite often.

CHATTAMATOOGY: That was a "bridge" or "riff" when Mother would be "scat" singing. Oftentimes followed with "PURTY YEA HOO"!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


On Sunday a friend used the word "briggity" and I pounced, "HOW do you spell that?" After recovering from the shock of my practically shrieking at her, she said that she didn't know how it was spelled, because she'd never seen it in print but that her mother had always used the word. I told her that my mother also used the word but I had never heard it used outside my family previously, and that I'd written a BLOG article about it.

When I told her how we spell it, she said that perhaps it had a "d" sound rather than the "t" sound we gave to it. I said, "I'll look up briggidy and briggedy, and other possible spellings."

I went to Google and typed in the words. None of those had any reference, but I typed in "definition of briggety"and voila, there it was! I should have done that the first time rather than Googling the individual words.

In contemplating writing this, I returned to my original article and I saw a comment that had been posted by a fellow BLOGGER named "Miracle Mommy" and she had also been trying to find out about the word and she happened on my article on Google Blogger.

I sent an e-mail to her to let her know where to find the information.

Briggity is a word used in Appalachia and can be found in the Dictionary Of American Regional English and it does mean "too big for one's britches".