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March 01, 2017



It's a little embarrassing to share this one, but my family talks about a Mark search. It's where you look for something and miss it even though it is literally right in front of you. Fortunately, I'm not the one who conducts the majority of Mark searches these days.

Elaine Viets

Good one, Mark. In our family that's known as "If it was a snake, it would have bit you."

Carolyn Brow

From the time my brother and sister were small, whenever we did some to exasperate my Dad, he used to say "I've taught you everything I know, and you still don't know anything." When we were finally old enough to get the joke,he was delighted. He'd still say it, but we'd just giggle.

Dean James

Great stories, Elaine!

Elaine Viets

Love that, Carolyn. Your Dad must be quite a guy.

Elaine Viets

Thanks, Dean.

Storyteller Mary

I've used the "organ recital" phrase, generally when I'm trying not to be subjected to medical details. There's a reason this "house mouse" became a teacher and not a nurse. My brother objected to snakes' reps being tarnished, so we changed it to "If it was a bear, it would have bit ya." I was often reminded that when I was very small I declared, "Look how run I can fast." I think it was at the transportation museum, because I recall a train. Dad said those word reversals were part of our German heredity, and when we were stubborn or hit our heads called us "hard-headed Dutchmen." Words are such fun! ;-)

Elaine Viets

Hah! I forgot about hard-headed Dutch, Mary. (We both are from St. Louis.)And Dutch had nothing to do with people from the Netherlands. It's a corruption of Deutsch, or German.

Ellie Enos

My father always remarked that so and so would complain if you hung him with a new rope!
My mother had a lot of Cornish expression including "a flipping _ssed fit". My children always thought it meant some one cart wheeling in a fit or rage.
My husband (from Kona) always referred to lateness as "Hawaiian" time. After we were married, he complained that I was doubly tardy because I operated on "Hawaiian and Indian" time.

Elaine Viets

Love these, Ellie. Thanks for posting them.


My grandfather was having a discussion with a town character about the recent death of a prominent local citizen--who was surprised and disappointed that my grandfather wasn't going to the bigwig's funeral. "But I don't know him all that well," my grandfather explained. "Mr. Hornsby," the character said, shaking his head. "You've got to go to other people's funerals if you want them to come to yours." Forever afterward, my family would quote this whenever discussing some social responsibility we would rather shirk.

Elaine Viets

This is a wonderful story, Donna -- and my laugh for the day.

Anne Murphy

A number of friends and fellow parishioners use the "must attend other people's funerals" line. Quite a few of us are of Irish descent which may explain the fact that we've been hearing/using it all our lives.

Elaine Viets

In my old neighborhood, the older women who attended funerals were either looking for drama -- or a husband.

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