There’s something about being in a house full of your relatives during the holidays that just makes you feel good.
These are the people that you grew up with, have watched you grow into an adult and helped you through all of life’s journeys so far.
The same stories are retold and new ones are created.
Maybe you look forward to your crazy aunt’s green bean casserole, or your grandpa stealing everyone under the age of twelve’s nose.
I loved walking into my grandpa’s kitchen to find him sitting at the table, shirt off, suspenders on and peeling an orange.
Of course, he’d throw a shirt on when the whole family was over. My cousins and I would take turns sitting next to him and he’d share his oranges with us.
My grandpa was an Olympic boxing coach who continued to train new boxers at his gym until just a few years before he passed.
He was notorious for telling everyone to, “keep their right up,” inside and outside of the ring.
Always protect yourself.
It has resonated with me more as an adult, and now a phrase I hear from his children, my aunts and uncle.
Another thing I heard often as a child whenever I made the mistake of saying that I wanted something was, “People in Hell want ice water.”
My grandma had a way with words.
She would often tell us to “MYOB,” a secret reminder for my sister and I to mind our own business.
Almost every time I ate a meal with my mother she would exclaim that she was, “fuller than a tick on a bloodhound,” a phrase she picked up from my dad.
She also reminded me regularly to, “say what you mean, and mean what you say,” and that I would “catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
After asking friends if their families had any idioms or passed down words of wisdom that were repeated regularly, I was delighted to hear that it wasn’t just my family.
Some of my favorites so far are “use your head for something other than a hat rack,” “I’ll fix it the second Tuesday of next week,” “as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” “finer than frog’s hair on the 4th of July” and “running around like an old maid hunting a husband.”
I often find myself repeating the phrases I grew up hearing to my own children.
Or as I like to call it, “opening my mouth and hearing my mother”.
Not long ago, after a very convincing argument with my son about why we should have pizza for dinner two nights in a row, I exclaimed, “people in Hell want ice water.”
Hunter, being the practical and intelligent kid he is, said, “then why don’t they just get a cup Mom?”
I decided not to “go down that road”.
I ordered the pizza, with the extra bacon that he asked for.