Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oodle Addles, Beans, and Skimmer Handles

My father used a number of quaint but pointed phrases to convey wisdom to me. Some of these sayings evoked images that have stayed with me all these years. There is a certain humor in the statements, but the love and the message were not lost on me.

An expression I heard Dad use often was, “He (she) went up the skimmer handle;” or “Don’t go up the skimmer handle.” I cannot find the phrase “skimmer handle” in the Bible, but I think the wisdom is biblical.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

Another of Dad’s expressions, usually directed to me in the form of a question was, “Do you reckon you’ll ever amount to a hill of beans?” I doubt that can be found in the Bible, but again, I think it has scriptural support.

It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding has wisdom. Proverbs 10:23

There are many other references one might cite to suggest that to amount to something is to be preferred to foolish behavior.

Finally, a thought inspired by a statement that BBBH uses on occasion. “I,” she will say, “am a princess.” If asked, she will expound on this by pointing out that the children of God, that is Children of the King, are, by definition, princes and princesses. Did you know that you are royalty? Are you aware that the Children of God are not tasked with a life of ease and entitlement here on Earth, though their reward for faithfulness will be great?

 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world;  Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

Yet another term I recall hearing often as a child was “oodle addle.” This was almost always in the expression, “running like an oodle addle on a windmill.” The missing subject might have been, from time to time, a nose, a Ford V-8 60, or a local politician. I find no scriptural mention of an oodle addle, and though I now know a bit about the derivation of the term, I do not have the slightest idea how my father who grew up hard-scrabble on the high plains acquired the expression. Oh, yeah. “Hard-scrabble.” That is yet another term...

Image:  Wikipedia


Jim said...

People just don't use phrases like this anymore. It's a poverty.

Vee said...

It's been a long time since I last heard these phrases.

Shelly said...

I enjoy these new phrases and love that I've expanded my vocabulary this morning. Much wisdom in them~

Secondary Roads said...

I plugged "oodle addle" into my favorite Internet search engine. This post came up as the #1 hit. Be aware my friend . . . they are watching everything you post here. You can't say you weren't warned.

vanilla said...

Jim, while it is useful to add expressions to the language, the loss of some is an impoverishment.

Vee, I know you have heard them, though.

Shelly, I think it is fun to add words and phrases to my lexicon, too.

Chuck, thanks for the heads-up. It was number one in my favorite search engine as well, but only number two on the name-brand site.

Anonymous said...

Stay as cool as a cucumber. One of my favorites.


Jackie said...

These are all new to me except the 'The hill of beans...'. My mother used that one a lot.

I am surprised I don't recognize more because my mother was born in 1914. I was raised with many old sayings that held quite a bit of wisdom.

Now I have more. Thank you!

vanilla said...

Bob, "cool as a cucumber" is a golden oldie, too.

Jackie, though you didn't know a couple of these, I'll bet your mother had some others just as useful.

Sharkbytes said...

The NCT crosses a Hardscrabble Road in NY. I think you rose higher than the hill of beans.

vanilla said...

Shark, I appreciate that, Shark.