Dear Smiley: This is in reference to the colorful phrases mentioned by Paul Major in your recent column.
This one was said about the strength of a running back: “This guy is as strong as 16 acres of garlic!”
And “He’s at the 15, the 10, the 5! Touchdown! He ran through the line and scored, unmolested!”
Commenting on a player who had tripped while running: “He almost scored; however, he’s down by self-tackleazation.”
Dear Smiley: Many years ago I lived in Germany. The military wives were offered German language classes, which I eagerly took.
Sometime later, my husband and I participated in a marriage enrichment class being held several villages away.
We got lost, and had to ask directions at another military base. And when we finally got to the correct location, there was a driveway and a parking lot but no signs to indicate where we should go.
There happened to be a young German family standing nearby. I walked up to them, and in my best German asked if they had seen any Americans there.
The husband, in his best English, replied that no, they had just arrived.
I guess we were both trying to impress the other!
Getting his goat
Dear Smiley: You referred to the saying involving the amount of rain falling compared to the bovine's actions on the flat rock.
My dad, too, used that expression quite a lot — but there was one he used I'm hoping one of your readers can shed a light on.
It's Hogan and his billy goat. It would go something like this: "It's as hot out there as Hogan's billy goat." Or, "He's as lost as Hogan's billy goat."
The expression could be used for anything, even the aforementioned rain: "It's raining like Hogan's billy goat."
Growing up with this, I unfortunately never asked my dad who Hogan was and why did he have this versatile billy goat. Anyone know?
Dear Smiley: Your comment about your Gloster, Mississippi, dad's saying brought to mind an incident during my Army basic training in Arkansas back in 1958.
We were on night training up in the hills around Fort Chaffee, and the cadre were explaining how a soldier in enemy territory had to be able to interpret night sounds.
A sergeant walked away in the darkness and poured out his canteen on a pile of rocks, asking the group what that sound may indicate.
One of the GIs (probably from Gloster) yelled, "A cow…and a flat rock."
Santa Maria, California
Dear Smiley: Paul Major's comments on Southern sayings brought to mind a song my dad used to sing. Part of it went:
"It was midnight on the ocean
Not a streetcar was in sight
The sun was shining brightly
And it rained all day that night
It was a summer's day in winter
And the rain was snowing fast
And a barefoot boy with his shoes on
Stood sitting in the grass.
Aren't we crazy, aren't we crazy…"
Maw Maw, Paw Paw, etc.
Dear Smiley: My wife, Susan, and I have recently found out that we will become grandparents for the first time next April.
We have been discussing what we hope our grandchildren will call us, and the thought occurred to me that it would be great for your column.
Ask your readers to tell us of any unusual grandparent names that their grandchildren call them, and how they came to get those names.
I bet this would be more fun than falling out of bed!
Dear Steve: Trust me, ANYTHING is more fun than falling out of bed…
Save the greens!
Dear Smiley: Regarding your discussion of turnip greens:
I was buying beets to make borscht, a Russian beet soup, when another shopper asked if I prepared those greens the same as turnip greens.
I answered that I threw away the greens, using just the bulbs for soup.
"You throw away the GREENS?" she exclaimed in horror.
With equal horror I cried, "You EAT the greens?"
Next they will be telling me that they eat the beaks of their chickens.