by Judith Allen
Our Millie loves words and tries to figure out what old, regional sayings mean.
|Our Millie's Word Adventures
Our Millie used to say sometime listenin' to what people say is downright confusin' and the more you think about it the less sense it all makes.
In which Our Millie keeps a word notebook, tries to figure out what it all means and comes to some interesting conclusions.
It was the middoe of summer and Our Millie was gettin' kind of bored. It was hot and steamy and she didn't want to do much of anything. Everybody was busy doin' other things and she feelin' ignored and underfoot. She had read all her Nancy Drew books and was lookin' for some kind of adventure but everything just seemed too ordinary and dull. She got to thinkin' that Nancy found a lot of her adventures by listenin' to what was goin' on around her , so she grabbed her old school notebook and some pencils and began to listen. Words were interesting and she began to make a list and explore what she could find out about them.
First on the list was "knock me over with a feather'. Aunt Selma was talking to grandma about something that surprised her when she said it. Was it really possible to knock someone over with a feather. How big a feather would you need and how would you do it? She decided to try it on Billy Bug with a tail feather from a rooster. After she sneaked up on him and poked and pushed all he did was laugh and take the feather away from her and get her down on the ground and tickle her with it. She saw that wasn't such a good idea. Maybe you could tickle them to death. But maybe a bigger feather would do. An ostrich feather. They didn't have an ostrich, and lookin' at aunt Selma she didn't think that would work either. That went into her "Unsolved mystery file."
Number two on the list was "as snug as a bug in a rug". Grandma said that to her sometimes when she tucked her in to sleep. Watching Big Mil hang the rugs on the line in the back yard and beat them till all the dust went flying she decided no bug could be snug in there so it went in her file of impossible sayings if someone like Big Mil was around.
She could understand number three "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound or cure". She wasn't sure about the measurements but she knew a tablespoon of cod liver oil was what Big Mil used to prevent anything from makin' you sick. If you even looked pale she went for the biggest spoon she could find and held you in place until you swallowed it all. Sometimes Billy Bug got away and sure enough he would get real sick and she wouldn't. He said that was alright though. He would rather suffer anything than take that oil. Our Millie put that in her " Proven to be true file"and make a face about it.
"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies" really bothered her. Did that mean that if you were asked a question you had to lie? She would never lie, well not much anyway. Miss Anna who taught Sunday School always said it was a sin. Our Millie didn't really understand then"sin" part, but she knew that Big Mil would be after her with the switch and Pa wouldn't take her fishin' if they caught her lyin'. Billy Bug wasn't even brave enough to lie to anybody's face though sometimes he didn't tell the whole truth. That saying went into her "Think about later file."
She couldn't imagine doin somethin at the "drop of a hat". 'Cause wouldn't you have to pick up your hat and dust it off first? And why would havin' an "ax to grind" mean you had a problem with someone? Grandpa ground his ax to make it sharp so he could cut wood. Those just didn't make any sense. They were in her " Can't be true file."
She really worked hard with Tri-pawed to teach him new tricks. She decided it would be done if the old dog got enough treats and didn't keep goin to sleep under the porch. She tried the same thing with Rusty, the Red Bone pup and it was a lot more fun. this was in her " Disproved but takes a lot of work file."
Our Millie asked Aunt Selma what she meant by the "cats meow" and she said it was somethin that was really grand. She couldn't understand that cause usually whenever cats meowed it meant they wanted food or petting, or they were getting in fights with other cats in the middle of the night. Another " Can't be true file."
All this workin' and listenin' and writin' was making' Our Millie mighty hungry. She closed her notebook and thought about what Big Mil had in the kitchen. She figured she was hungry enough to eat a horse. She looked out in the field and saw Old Blue grazin' there. Decidin' that was not only Impossible but not appealin' she headed for the kitchen and some cold fried chicken.