How many times do we parrot an expression that we heard our parents or grandparents use when we have no idea what it really means? The following was submitted to me by Shawn Tucker. I’ve done no research on them at all, but they do interest me!…Fredda Davis Jones
“GOD WILLING AND THE CREEKS DON’T RISE”
I must admit that I have heard this all of my life, and I assumed it simply meant exactly what it says. However, according to the information in front of me, this saying was written by Benjamin Hawkins, a politician and a mediator between the government and the Indians.
When ordered back to Washington, Hawkins wrote the president saying that he would comply with the order, “God willing and the Creeks don’t rise.” Because of the upper case letter on Creeks, history has decided that Hawkins was actually referring to the tribe, not the creeks.
“AN ARM AND A LEG”
Obviously, in the days before the camera, the only way to preserve an image was to paint it. Because the limbs were harder to paint than the body, painters charged more for each limb in the painting. Thus, “It will cost you an arm and a leg.”
In the day when men wore wigs made of wool as the wealthy did, there was no way to wash the wigs so to clean them. Instead, they would carve out a loaf of bread and put the wig in the shell and bake it for a certain amount of time.
The heat made the wig big and fluffy again. Today we say, “He’s a Big Wig” when we mean that someone is an important person.
At one time most homes did not have chairs in them, eating instead on the floor or possibly on a bench. At the head of the table was typically the one chair in the house, and it was here that the head of the house sat to eat.
An important guest might also be invited to sit in the chair. Of course, in those days someone “important” would have been a man, not a woman, hence the word Chair-Man.
In the days before major media, politicians had no real way to know what the people considered important so they sent their aids to the local taverns. They were told to “go sip” some ale and listen to the people’s conversations and concerns.
Many assistants were dispatched at different times. The two words “go sip” were eventually combined and, thus we have the term “gossip.”