Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Contest in Honor of Sam

What's In A Name?
What's In A Name?
I might have mentioned my Gran to you a time or two [My Gran's Southern Hash, Genealogy, Catholicism & Managing Women, I Have Believed... Impossible Things..., Her Irish Eyes, They Were a Smilin...].  My Gran's "real" name was Mary Alice (Truitt) Blacketer, but to all her grandchildren she was just Gran.  While she was alive, I heard others refer to her and heard her refer to herself  as Mary, Alice, and/or Mary Alice.  It's funny when you think about who we are to different people.  What we are called by different people [hopefully all good things...].

Gran's Patriotic Collage

Her "Other" Nickname
My Gran was an extremely patriotic person.  [I wonder if she knew her 3rd great grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War...]  She would always wear bright red lipstick, and there were only four colors that my Gran would wear, at least in her later years: red, white, blue, or green.  If she was feeling especially patritotic on a particular day she'd wear red, white, and blue.  What was the green for?  Ah, now that would be for her Irish O'Brien heritage.  On St. Patrick's Day, she'd wear all four colors.  [I'm not kidding.  Really, she did.]  My Gran was a teenager during World War I.  By the time World War II rolled around, she had married my grandfather James Wesley Blacketer, a private in the U.S. Army, and had already given birth to eight children [my mom's #7].  Along with her busy home life, she volunteered at the USO in San Antonio, Texas [where she lived].  Additionally, her sister [my Grand Aunt Anne] was in the U.S. Navy and drove an ambulance in France during World War II.  However, it wasn't until her death in 1993 that I found out that she had had another nickname.  In fact, this nickname was so well-known on the military bases in San Antonio, that we had to use it in her obituary or people would not have realized that it was her.  It was given to her for her patriotism and for her support of the military.  And the nickname?  They called her "Sam" [as in "Uncle Sam"].

Funny Family Contest Sayings

In honor of "Sam" [or Mary, or Alice, or Mary Alice, or Gran], I'm holding a contest.  You see, my polite, patriotic, little Irish Catholic grandmother used to have some funny sayings that she passed down.  For example, in moments of great trial, like accidentally dropping something, instead of saying "God---- it!", she'd say, "God [small dramatic pause] bless America and all the ships at sea!"   [probably to avoid all the Hail Mary's she'd have to say...]  With eight children, I bet she used this one a bunch.
Here's another "good one" from Gran.  Sometimes when people just didn't make any sense she'd say, "'To each his own,' said the old lady who kissed the cow, and the old man who peed in the sea to keep the boat from sinking."  [Ah, the imagery that conjures up...]
This last one was passed down from my 2nd great grandmother, Annie O'Brien, and you may have heard it before.  "Top o' the mornin' t' ya' and the rest o' the day t' me!"  [Hee-hee.  The first part is Irish and the second part is leprechaun.]

The Funny Family Sayings Contest
So, what is your funny family saying?  C'mon. I know you have at least one.  How bad could it be?  It can't be any worse than Sam's "old lady and old man" one...The 10 funniest family sayings submitted will receive a free one-month's [for the month of September] premium level subscription to Dynastree. Dynastree is a family tree web application that has a ton of features including their popular "map a surname".  They offer a free standard subscription with no obligations as well as a paid premium subscription.  Dynastree has been extremely generous in offering you, my readers, these subscriptions so you can "test drive" their application.  For more information, visit their blog here.  Just post ONE of your funniest family sayings below in "Comments".  The contest will end Thursday, August 27, 2009 at midnight.  Good luck!  Remember: you get only one entry.  [Please enter.  Do it for "Sam".  Also, I need at least 10 entries, but just 10 entries might make me look a little post a funny saying! :)]


  1. My Great Grandmother, Annie Carter Jackson would often remind us girls when choosing a boyfriend, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!". The meaning: pick a good man from the start rather than attempting to convert one!:-)


  2. One of my aunts used to say of anyone who had done something particularly harebrained, "If brains were dynamite, he couldn't blow his nose!"

  3. Every time we would come in the house and forget to close the door dad would say, "Were you raised in a barn?"

  4. This is one I got yesterday from mom with regard to my great uncle Roy "JD" Pierce.

    "I would rather smell perfume than linement."

    said to his nieces (my mother and aunt) who were trying to reprimand him for still trying to pick up the young ladies.

  5. Great post. I cannot currently think of any great expressions passed down from my ancestors but I will be sure to forward this on to my husband's parents and I'm sure they will come up with a lot!

  6. My Dad and his twin brother (God rest their souls)...always read the obituaries before any other part of the newspaper. I found it morbid. I always asked, "Why do you look at that every day Dad"?

    My Daddy told me, in all seriousness...there are two great parties in Irish wedding, and an Irish wake.

    Don't know if this qualifies as an "old sayin", but it certainly made an impression on me.

  7. Well, I asked my family (husband and kids) what sayings they remember from their grand parents, uncles, aunts, anybody! and all they kept doing was saying things that I say! UGH

    Lest I can't participate I will pick from one that they shouted out at me...

    You've buttered your bread - now you'll have to sleep in it!


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