I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s always amazing to me how one thing leads on to another. For example, a couple of days ago I wrote a column, We’re Short of Nothing We’ve Got (this was followed by a somewhat related column, “Ey up!” Hanging with my Peeps). Well, I just received an email from my old chum Jack Grubbs, who spake as follows:
Hi Max, I Enjoyed your “We’re short of nothing we’ve got” article. Attached is a list of “Sayings” that my Aunt compiled. She was born in 1905 in Indian Territory (became Oklahoma in 1907). She gave me a copy of a handwritten list and a copy (poor quality) of a typed list about 30+ years ago. I did an OCR scan of the typed list. It took many hours of editing but finally got a good document. I thought you might enjoy seeing them — Jack
Well, this is Cool Beans indeed. Many of these sayings were already known to me, but there are a lot I’ve never heard before, and more than a few of which I’ll be using before the day has passed LOL.
A rolling stone gathers no moss. A setting hen lays no eggs. Beating around the bush. Poor as job’s turkey. The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be. Raining pitch forks and alligators. Dry as a bone. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Can’t make both ends meet. Slow as a snail. Slow as molasses in January. Kill two birds with one stone. Bright as a dollar. Thick as hops. You can’t judge a book by its cover. Live and let live. Hind wheels of bad luck. Flat as a fritter. No fool like an old fool. Behind every cloud is a silver lining. Crooked as a dog’s hind leg. Crooked as a barrel of snakes Don’t be eager to find fault, there is no reward. Alike as two black eyed peas. Keeping up with the Jones. Thick as two peas in a pod. Another day another dollar. His goose is cooked. Serious as a heart attack. It will be a cold day in July. A watched pot never boils. Catch as catch can. Too many cooks spoil the pot. It will all come out in the wash. We are all in the same boat. Six of one, half a dozen of another. Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Between a rock and a hard place. Honesty is the best policy. If it was not for time, we would have to do it right now. All’s well that ends well. What makes people tick. Up a creek without a paddle. Gall of a brass monkey. Rome wasn’t built in a day. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. You will reap what you sow. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Looking through rose-colored glasses. Looking through rose-colored spectacles. The grass is always greener on the other side of fence. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. Truth is stranger than fiction. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Crawl in a hole. Horse of a different color. Still as a mouse. The kettle shouldn’t call the pot black. Leopards never change their spots. Like a Dutchman’s flea. Make hay while the sun shines. Pretty is as pretty does. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. The early bird gets the worm. Still water runs deep. Sly as a fox. Quick as a rabbit. Wise as an owl. Fat as a pig. Stubborn as a mule. Use horse sense. You made your own bed, now lie in it. Digging your own grave. Leave no stones unturned. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Don’t close the barn door after the horse is out. Beauty is only skin deep. Proud as a peacock. April showers bring May flowers. Wild as a March hare. A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Pretty as a picture. Will be here till the cows come home. Talking up a storm. Better late than never. Brain washed. When in doubt, don’t. Lips that touch liquor will never touch mine. Every cloud has a silver lining. Birds of a feather flock together. Smart as a whip. Smart as a tack. Blood is thicker than water. Oil and water don’t mix. Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Hold your horses. Raining cats and dogs. First things first. Method in his madness. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Raking them over the coals. Get down to brass tacks. Talked a leg off of him. This world and one more. Too rich for my blood. Will fight tooth and nail. Down and out. According to Hoyle. Mosey along. Steal pennies off a dead man’s eyes. You missed the boat. Crazy as a loon. No news is good news. Time and tide wait for no man. If the shoe fits, wear it. If you can’t beat them, join them. Stretching a point. Penny wise and dollar foolish. To each his own. Don’t jump to conclusions. Tide me over. Don’t be fooled. Talk till you are blue in the face. A penny saved is a penny earned. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Working a good horse to death. Rode hard and put away wet. Think about the devil and his imps will appear. Talk about the devil and his imps will appear. Smell the patchin’. Part of something is better than all of nothing. Dirt cheap. Save your breath to cool your broth. Stone around your neck. Take the bull by the horns. Wide place in the road. Dead as a door nail. Cream of the crop. Takes one to know one. Time will tell. Over the hill. That’s a big kettle of fish. Out of sight out of mind. It takes two to tango. A stitch in time saves nine. Light as a feather. Blue as indigo. Quick as a wink. Busy as a bee. Hind wheels of bad luck. The hen that laid the golden egg. Least said is the best mended. Drum up trade. It’s a small world. Every day and Sunday too. Yard long and a mile wide. You’ll lose your socks. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Where there is a will there is a way. That’s where the rub comes in. If it had been a snake it would have bit you. He is a bad apple. Don’t get uptight about it. This world and one more. Up against a wall. Cut down to nubbins. Reading between the lines. Jumps the gun. Everything going my way. Pulled him up by his bootstraps. On the wrong side of the fence. On the wrong side of the tracks. Living on a shoestring. Let you get back to your knitting. Get by with the skin of your teeth. Tighten up your belt. It is Kosher. Get it off your chest. It will be all right a hundred years from now. Stuck to my guns. Paddle your own canoe. Lost your marbles. Slick as a button. Happy as a lark. Pure as gold. Strong as a bull. At your fingertips. A short horse is easily curried. Get out and kick up my heels. Slip of the tongue. Gone by the wayside. Laying down on the job. Not up to snuff. Two-way street. Can’t tell a book by its cover. As easy as water running off a duck’s back. Rule of thumb. Money doesn’t grow on trees. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What one can’t think of another will. No strings attached. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. All dressed up and no place to go. Cook some food to death. Useless as a hog with a sidesaddle pocket. About forty-eleven. Hot as a boiled owl. Right down my alley. He is one the level. Living out in the middle of nowhere. Keep them guessing. Throw your hat in the ring. Locked horns with the people. Getting your wires crossed. Slept like a log. Coming out of the little end of the horn. Come hell or high water. Run like a fool. Run like a bat out of hell. No rhyme or reason. Looked hide and hair for something. Not worth a tinker’s damn. Not worth a tinker’s cuss. Fresh as a daisy. Dirty as a dog. Purrs like a kitten. Smells like a rose. Burning a candle at both ends. Sick and tired. Fight fire with fire. Running downhill after a crippled turkey. White as snow. White as a sheet. Clear as a bell. Foot loose and fancy free. Give an inch and they will take a mile. Went downhill. (Health) Snug as a bug in a rug. Birds eye view. Prices cut to the bone. Crack of dawn. Dog eat dog. Spice of life. Want anything done well, do it yourself. Rob Peter to pay Paul. Nip it in the bud. Too late in the game. Hit rock bottom. Not in the cards. Tables will be turned. Snake in the grass. Pressed for time. Sink your teeth into it. Don’t blink an eye. Stuck my neck out. The old school of thought. According to which way the wind blows. Figure of speech. Gone down the drain. Everything is coming out of the closet. Keep one step ahead. Run for your money. Chip on your shoulder. Chip off the old block. Train of thought. So mad I could bite a ten-penny nail in two. Lend an ear. Something is in the wind. Three sheets to the wind. The whole kit and kaboodle. Dog tired. Since Hector was a pup. Knee high to grasshopper. Scared as a March hare. Mad as a March hare. Something is brewing. Thick as fleas on a dog’s back. She was mealy mouthed. Come easy, go easy, Bod send Sunday. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Time eases all pain. Let the cat out of the bag. Beg borrow or steal. Whole thing in a nutshell. Lock, stock and barrel. That’s where the rub comes in. Come to the end of his rope. Jump out of the fire and into the frying pan. Forgot half I ever knew. Out of the horse’s mouth. Screw loose. Sometimes the truth hurts. Too keyed up. Out of harm’s way. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Put your money where your mouth is. Much to do about nothing. Bet your bottom dollar. Got to keep them guessing. Handwriting on the wall. Writing on the wall. Played the cards right. Too many irons in the fire. Putting on the dog. It’s the little things that count. Flattery will get you nowhere. Keep the ball rolling. Cracked my brain. Bet you a dollar to a doughnut. He is a skunk. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. The old goat. Ruffle his feathers. Let bygones be bygones. Don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Can’t blame anyone but yourself. Fine as a fiddle. Fit as a fiddle. You are a go-getter. Go till I keel over. Its later than you think. On the run. Horse feathers. Covers a lot of ground. Sky high. Deep as the ocean. Don’t dig it. Can’t tell the same story twice. What you don’t know won’t hurt you. More to do than a cranberry merchant. More problems than you can shake a stick at. Creating a monster. Clear as mud. Easy as falling off a log. Cross that path when I get there. Betwixt and between. Start from scratch. Make time. A watched pot never boils. Left me high and dry. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Spinning my wheels. Give them a dose of their own medicine. Run things into the ground. The higher you fly the further you fall. Thin skin. Thin skinned. Thick headed. Between me and the gate post. Two sides of the same coin. Always on the ready. Left a trail behind them a mile wide. In this neck of the woods. That’s a different kettle of fish. Going in one ear and out of the other. Drop it like a hot potato. All cobbled up. On pins and needles. Keep your distance. Dib-dabbing. Wishful thinking. Flat broke. Burning your bridges behind you. Neighbors are wagging their tongues. Telling tales out of school. Just around the corner. When it rains it pours. Good for nothing. History repeats itself. Power of suggestion. School myself to be patient. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, Get my thinking cap on. Stars in your crown. Feather in your cap. One foot in the grave. Devil takes his due. Called on the carpet. Hit the nail on the head. Smell a rat. Don’t trust a sleeping dog. Going around in circles. Not as good as it’s cracked up to be. A number one. Pulling his leg. Make a fast buck. Jim Dandy. Comfortable as an old shoe. Sticks in my craw. Our paths cross. Put my thinking cap on. Too smart for your own britches. Red letter day. Get you off the hook. All downhill from here. Hot under the collar. Do it hook or crook. By hook or by crook. Going to do it, come hell or high water. Living high on the hog. Cash in his checks. Sink or swim. Green with envy. Walk a straight line. Walk a chalk line. Good for what ails you. Skin a flea for its tallow. Take it with a grain of salt. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. Can’t stir them with a stick. That’s the way the mop flops. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start the ball rolling. Right as rain. Lower than a snake’s belly. Stir up trouble. Going in all directions. Put your nose to the grindstone. Heap coals on his head. Every shape, form or fashion. Talk turkey. End up on a sour note. Tom foolery. Get back in the saddle again. Would not go through that for man nor money. Would not do that for love nor money. Land of milk and honey. A raging sea. Neat as a pin. Spur of the moment. A deal is a deal. Barking up the wrong tree. Lift you up by the seat of your pants. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Cool as a cucumber. Clean the slate. Cock and bull story. Up a stump. Last till the cows come home. Killing time. Money talks. Charity begins at home. Throw a curve. Scratch the surface. Thirst for knowledge. Had him over a barrel. Don’t throw good money after bad. Raise cane. Set out of the woods. Can’t get a word in edge wise. Take the monkey off my back. Got their goat. Faunching at the bit. Chafing at the bit. Champing at the bit. Chomping at the bit. Feels good when it quits hurting. Bad news travels fast. Like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Shoestring budget. A lot of water has run under the bridge. A lot of Pooh sticks have passed under the bridge. You can’t get blood out of a turnip. How to teach an old dog new tricks. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Back against the wall. Keep at arm’s length. Take him a t face value.Scallywag. Simplicity is the height of elegance. Far end of the jumping off place. Looks can be deceiving. Dear John, I sent your saddle home. Put the situation on the back burner. Too big for his britches. Can’t see a bird. Pause to reflect. Have him buffaloed. Creature of habit. Hook ’em up and head them out of here. Jump to the opportunity. Nothing to see like success. Stretching my imagination. I call the shots. Don’t cry over spilt milk. Hot butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Not worth his salt. Not worth a plug nickel. Where there is a will, there is a way. Shaking like a leaf. Lame duck. Can’t judge a book by its cover. Count your blessings. Hard pressed. Rat race. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen. Speak softly and carry a big stick. Playing it by ear. Get their wings clipped. Don’t rock the boat. Hold the fort. Don’t borrow trouble. Temper the good with the bad. Ugly as homemade sin. Life is not worth a plug nickel. Stew in their own fat. Living on borrowed time. Not worth a hill of beans. He turned on his heels. A long row to hoe. He is a rounder. Threw me for a loop. Don’t have room to cuss a cat. Don’t know which side your bread is buttered on. Eat till the cows come home. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Let him off the hook. Life is not a bed of roses. Different strokes for different folks. My love for him went out the window. Everything is going haywire. Out of the frying pan into the fire. Cringe in my boots. Old age and human misery. You never get too old to learn. On the fence. Wouldn’t trust him around the house. Knock your socks off. The longer you stay away the easier it gets. Reaching for a straw. Grasping for a straw. Clutching at a straw. Wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. Skin him alive. Heavens to Betsy. He is a wheeler dealer. Saturate the point. Let the world wag on. Full as a tick. Go hog wild. Nothing but the best. Two faced. Going like a bat out of hell. Bent with age. Slow of foot. Fly in the ointment. Things will get worse before they get better. Block headed. Bull headed. Play your cards right. Work my fingers to the bone. Killing me by slow degrees. Have a little yarn to tell. Pulling the wool over his eyes. An inch off a man’s nose makes a lot of difference. Out of whack. Chew the fat. Got your number. Out spending my children’s inheritance. Pick of the litter. City slickers. Looks like something sent for and couldn’t go. Looks like something the cats brought in. Patches on conscience. Down in the doldrums. Wear kid gloves when you handle the situation. Rip them up the back. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Kick the bucket. Skeleton in the closet. Horse of another color. Few and far between. Hit it on the nose. Crack a book. Tongue in cheek. Do me a favor and don’t. Not under one’s thumb. Give him enough rope and he will hang himself. Got me between a rock and a hard pi ace. Don’t care whether school keeps or not. Chip on my shoulder. Burnt out on that. Lost your marbles. Pick up the pieces. My home is my castle. Keep my fingers crossed. Not going to split hairs. Put them on the spot. Have been hood-winked. Call a spade a spade. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Mark my word. Lesser of two evils. Hog on ice. Wouldn’t hurt a flea. He is an old skin flint. Cranky as all get out. Cranky as an old bear. Going hog wild. Put your best -foot -forward. On the other side of the coin. Don’t holler calf rope. The world has dropped from under me. Cheap John. The sky is the limit. Talked till I was blue in the face. Rubbed elbows with them. They rubbed me the wrong way. All in the cards. Will cross that bridge when I get there. Get us to anything but a rock in show. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Lickety split. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, Make a mountain out of a mole hill. Do everything by fits and starts. In a coon’s age. Different kettle of fish. Going at a snail’s pace. High and mighty. Bite off more than you can chew. Looked like she stepped out of a band box. Shooting the breeze. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Rap session. For criminy’s sake. Get my two cents worth in. Died with his boots on. Country hunk. Smooth as silk. Too busy doing nothing. All kinds of tricks of the trade. Got up on the wrong side of the bed. Cuss a blue streak. Not going to set the world on fire. Soft butter won’t melt in their mouth. Pipe dream. Bum around. Buttering him up. Cramps my style. For crying in a bucket. For crying out loud. Tough as a boot. From hell to breakfast. Can’t cure all the world’s ills. Hell bent for election. That situation covers a lot of ground. Waste not, want not. A fool and his money are soon parted. Like a bull in a china closet. Patience went out the window. Sour on the world. Lot of hot air. Throw a monkey wrench. Never criticize a man until you walk in his shoes. I call the shots. Going against the grain. Pretty is as pretty does. Not beholden to anyone but God. The best is not too good for me. Nice day you can write home about. Falling apart at the seams. One foot in the grave. More problems than you can shake a stick at. We have been taken to the cleaners. Tripping the light fantastic. That’s cheer and reflection. Stirring up a hornet’s nest. It’s all Greek to me. Like a blue streak. Play second fiddle. Other fish to fry. Weighing in the balance. Putting your nose to the grindstone. Wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Get it off my chest. Trying to keep up with the Jones. Going downhill. Quit your belly aching. Tough as a boot. Bone of contention. Judge a man by the company he keeps. Couldn’t get a word in edge wise. Jack of all trades. Jack of all trades and master of none. White around the gills. When the chips are down. Live and learn. All over but the shouting. Blow the whistle on him. Only a flash in the pan. Living on his laurels. Mad as an old wet hen. They are my flesh and blood.In the nick of time. I’ll sleep on it. Goes against the grain. Not wishy-washy. Small potatoes. Nit pickers. What is to be will be. Living on easy street. Haves and have nots. Life of Riley. Higher than a kite. Covers a lot of ground. Have no drive. One bad apple can spoil the barrel. Life is a bowl of cherries. Putting one’s best foot forward. Back to square one. Bottom rung of the ladder. Leaves me out in the cold. Bum rush. Right up their alley. Don’t upset the apple cart. Putting it on the shelf for a while. Young whipper snapper. Worship of the all mighty dollar. A picture is worth a thousand words. Change is more than skin deep. A man gets praise except in his own house. Blaze your own trail. Don’t, follow the herd. Wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. Lick your calf over again. Don’t close the barn door after the cows get out. Coffee so strong you could chew it. Toe the line. Hit pay dirt. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Misery breeds misery. Going for it like a duck going for a June bug. All quiet on the western front. Katy bar the door. Left him high and dry. Fit as a fiddle. Down at your heels. Apple of his eye. Pot licking good. You never miss the water till the well runs dry. It fell on deaf ears. Never time to do it right, but always time to do it over. Fell like a ton of bricks. Stars crossed. Our paths crossed. The hurrier I go the behinder I get. Tab “A” into slot “B”. Running out of soap grease. Price yourself out of business. Kick myself. Too many irons in the fire. Like stealing the crown jewels. Mind your p’s and q’s. Hungry as a bear. Have the rug pulled out from under you. Put it all in a nutshell. Nip and tuck. It takes a thief to catch a thief. Scared the dickens out of me. I wouldn’t give them the time of day. Square peg in a round hole. Bet a hundred to one. Cat got your tongue. Have forty eleven things to do. They don’t cut no ice with me. Never is a long time. The Lord helps them who help themselves. Rock around your neck. Nothing between me and the gate post. Hog wash. Crack pot. Don’t see eye to eye. Throw in the towel. Left holding the bag. You only pass through this world once. Scraping the barrel. Feel like a spring chicken. Take potluck. Comes a rainy day. Meet me halfway. Small world. Will take second thought. We are talking the same language. Gone by the wayside. Personality of a mashed potato sandwich. All chickens come home to roost. Keep the home fires burning. One size fits all. Small talk.
Wow! My hat is off to Jack’s Aunt — this must have taken a herculean effort. Are there any of these sayings that particularly tickle your fancy? And can you think of any sayings that Jack’s Aunt missed? If so, please remind us of the little scamps in the comments below.