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Thanks to Debbie Allen for this trivia….


Did you know the saying “God willing and the Creeks don’t rise” was in reference to the Creek Indians and not a body of water?

It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington. In his response, he was said to write, “God willing and the Creeks don’t rise.” Because he capitalized the word “Creeks” it is deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not a body of water.


In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’ (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)


As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term ‘big wig.’ Today we often use the term ‘here comes the Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.


In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’


Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt. Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’


Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced’ wore a tightly tied lace.


Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’


Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some Ale and listen to people’s conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term ‘gossip.’


At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the phrase ‘minding your ‘P’s and Q’s’.


One more: bet you didn’t know this!

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem…how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under

the others. The solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’ Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’ (All this

time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn’t you.)

In less than 15 minutes, Quintin will return home from his first day of high school. The boy was so eager to begin this new chapter of his life, and I am so proud of his enthusiasm.

However, I will be buried under the usual heap of paperwork to read, fill-out, sign, copy, and make sure Quintin has his marching orders to return all the paperwork.

We will have a brief time at home to discuss his day, and grab a bite to eat before marching band practice. I will have the luxury of several hours of writing time before walking the one of the three dogs to the football stadium for the end of rehearsal. And this also marks Quintin’s first time on the stadium field for a marching band rehearsal – exiting.

I am enjoying my ALONE TIME. My business email is turned off and will not be opened again until Monday morning. If I do contribute anything to Facebook it will be purely social. And I may type an occasional blog. Unlike President Obama, I am going to be more selfish with my “week away” because I can. I only have an endocrinologist appointment tomorrow, and a special fun lunch scheduled for Friday. Saturday, while Quintin is engaged with the marching band’s donation day, I will write. We may go to Kings Island that evening, and Sunday we will do some more fire-pit work.

Monday will not only return me to my teaching schedule (with 49 students – and I have not even scheduled my middle school students, yet!), and preparations for my family’s visit for the Labor Day weekend.

Photos of Quintin before heading over to the high school…

So, this is really Navi and Chief’s first experience with the start of school. The end of this past school year there was no back fence to keep them in, and they could easily escape from the deck; therefore, they spent most of their time inside.

Well, at 6:30 this morning, while I was still deep in slumber, the deep roars of barking began from those two… the first teachers were arriving.

Flyer laid in her corner of my bedroom, content with this oft repeated ritual of teachers arriving (every day, actually).

All morning long The Kids have been greeting every blasted car door opening while I am trying to write. I either do not hear the offending car door, or I am too accustomed to the sound. Before their barking chorus commences each time, the sound of their claws and paws scrambling from their curled up positions directly behind me reverberates from the wood floors.

All summer long the only time a car door was heard in the parking lot was when a private student was arriving or leaving – The Kids got use to that routine.

Chief also stands on the deck table to see over the fence, and Navi prances and dances all around the table wishing she could climb up as easily as Chief.

I am wondering how long it will take them to connect the arrival/departure of school buses to the fact that most students, and Quintin, will be arriving within minutes. Flyer quickly figured this out, and even after nine years, still prepares her self for the start of her day’s responsibility as the official Haasienda Hostess.

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August 2011
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