You Can’t Go Home Is Where The Heart Is

I’ve heard it said, “You can’t go home.” And, “Home is where the heart is.” But, if you can’t go home, and that’s where your heart is . . . then . . . does that mean you’ve lost heart?  Not me.  Nope!! I can go home any time I want, and I do – often. Not all the way home, though, usually. I go to the front gate, where all the flowers are. I can lean on the gate and relive all the fun times and exciting days, and it’s like picking a bouquet of memories.

My foster father – what a guy! Farming was his life, and so was his wife. He had more old sayings than a dog’s got fleas. I used to just marvel at how many he could quote in one day, without repeating himself. As a teenager, I often scoffed at those sayings. Now I remember them with great fondness, and have found myself using most as though they originated in my own brain.

There was a saying for every occasion, and several he used for multiple situations.

A typical day at our house may have included one or more of the following interchanges . . .

me: How ya doin today?
him: (on a good day) finern frog’s hair split three ways  (on a better day) happy as a clam the clam-diggers missed!  (on a great day) if I was any better, there’d have to be two of me!  (on a day he didn’t feel well)  I got a hitch in my gitalong.
me: I don’t get it. What did you mean by that?
him: Oh, nuthin. My tongue just got tied around my eye-teeth, and I couldn’t see what I was saying.
me: I hate my hair! Why can’t I get it cut?
him: well, you’ve cut it two or three times, and it’s still too short.
me: What time is it, Claude?
him: two hairs past a freckle, goin’ on to the elbow.
me: AARRGGHHH! I can’t do this stupid thing – it’s not working!
him: here’s your problem – you’re not holdin’ your mouth right.
me: (before a date) Do I look OK? 
him: you look purtiern a spotted hog. (by the way, that did NOT instill any confidence in me at the time, as I hated hogs and thought they were ugly)

Oh, and all those little multipurpose sayings! He would often use these interchangeably – when he was upset, mischievous, crabby, happy – whatever. Sometimes he’d just use them to make me laugh, or to get a rise out of me, or maybe even to make me a little mad (he got a kick out of getting my teenage temper stirred up).

I’m gonna cut your tail off right behind your ears! (upset with one of us kids…teasing the dog…or just feelin’ a little rambunctious)
Put your shoes on, Lucy – doncha know you’re in the city?!  (by the way, we weren’t in the city, my name isn’t Lucy, and I probably had my shoes on anyway)
Independent as a hog on ice (somebody he considered even more stubborn than he was – usually me)
Come on in, pull up a chair and sit down beside it (when company came, if he liked them)
Here’s your hat what’s your hurry (when company came, if he wasn’t all that fond of them)
Well, sit on your fist and lean back on your thumb (to whoever lost, when we were fighting over the best seat in front of the TV)
If everybody thought alike, they’d all want Suzie (this one always cracked me up, as his wife’s name wasn’t Suzie)
slice me off a chunk of that (when I tried to make coffee once – by the way, you COULD slice off a chunk of HIS coffee)
I druther die owin’ ya than cheatcha out of it (ALWAYS said with a twinkle in his eye and a twitch in the corner of his mouth)
I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet (I honestly think he got that one from watching all those old westerns he loved on TV. Jes sayin)
I’m so hongry my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut (another one I’m sure he got from westerns – except maybe for the ‘hongry’ part. That was all him)
Well, bust my britches! (this one he used to convey any number of emotions)

My foster father rarely just “said” something – he was the master of hyperbole, simile, and metaphor, even though he had no idea what any of those words meant. When I think of all his sayings, I can hear his voice and see the twinkle in his eye.

But if someone did something he didn’t like, look out! He could jump straight up in the air and land with both fists up, ready to do battle, sort of a mixture between Snuffy Smith and Popeye. True story! I actually witnessed that happen once, when someone had badly mistreated his plow horse, Patsy. She died from the mistreatment – and the fellow came very near that himself.

Normally, though, my foster father was a kind, gentle little man, always a hard worker, and meticulously honest. He was a good man.

I could go on and on and on and . . . or not. What are some of your favorite memories from days gone by?

This week’s WordPress writing challenge is all about something completely different from the normal posting, and my foster father was just that – completely different from any post I ever met. There are fence posts, and postcards, and postmarks, and postmen, and post-holes, and post-modern, and even blog posts. Claude was a postmark from another era, forever stamped on my memory. 

66 thoughts on “You Can’t Go Home Is Where The Heart Is

  1. Very exciting story about an exciting personality! This really is unique, I enjoyed every bit of it! There is so much creativity; I should attribute it both to you and to your foster father! 🙂

    • Yes, we were very blessed, and I’m glad I got to know him and his sweet wife Ida (we called her Idee). He used to say something like, “I ain’t got no idee, Idee” when she’d ask him something. Cracked me up every time!

    • My husband kinda looked confused over that one, but after I explained it to him, he thought it was pretty good too. And you can use it any time you want! He didn’t patent it. 🙂

    • He was one of the funniest, hardest working, most set-in-his-ways, enjoyable fellows I ever knew. And he believed every. single. word. he heard on TV. If it was on the news, it MUST be the truth. That was one thing I’d forgotten about until just now.

  2. good stuff. thar wurr a phew, nay, sevurrull, seigheengs i ain’t hurd beefurr.
    coincidental: just TWO DAZE uh-go i wuzz talkin’ with my dotter awnna walk, and i mentioned the “finer than frag hair” and she said that her father in law would say the same thing, ‘cept split FOUR WAYS and softened with an emery board !

    thanks for providin’ this gnawvel yoooneeek trip down language lane!

  3. Ha! I love it. My partner’s grandmother is the same way. It’s baffling sometimes the things that come out of her mouth. One of my favorites is ‘You know what thought did? Wet the bed and thought it was sweating.’ Kudos for writing all of his quips down!

    • OK, now I have to go read yours! Thanks so much for the sweet comment; I love all those sayings – only about half of them are here. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a bunch!

      • I can’t imagine there being more than that…lol! I was trying to recall some of them over the weekend…we took a trip to Birmingham, and I was having a hard time remembering correctly just one… lol…they are all so unique!

    • Thanks so much…and nope, my name’s not Shirly, but you can call me Shirly if ya wanna. 🙂 My foster sister’s nickname was Shirley, and I would be honored to share that, even if it isn’t my name!

  4. He must have been a good guy because you remember him so fondly and write him that way. You are lucky to have known each other

  5. Funny, I read recently that we don’t use those old expressions often enough any more and they are being lost. My kids love it when I say, “It’ll all come out in the wash.” But then they use the same expression about something that will NOT come out in that proverbial wash.

    • That’s a new one for me – I’ve used “if pigs could fly” a lot, though. I’m thinkin’ this one will become the newest addition to my collection of sayings. 🙂 Thanks for this one!

  6. So as an up and coming journalist I can go anywhere in the world and feel at home. Wonder if that’s what the phrase “the world is your oyster” means. If you’re spiritual and believe in God, then you’re always at home wherever you are because you have God in your heart.

    • Yup, I believe that I can feel at home anywhere, because I carry ‘home’ within, in His presence. And, I have all those wonderful memories of life filed away, to be enjoyed at a moment’s notice.

  7. You’re conversation went over my head, but I’m sure if I were you I’d enjoy it all the same too 🙂
    You’re foster father sounds like a great, eccentric personality 😀

    Love him, though I don’t know him 🙂
    Great post, congratulations on Freshly Pressed, you earned it!
    Check mine too?
    Cheers! 😀

  8. I’ve got the biggest smile on my face after reading Claude’s clever comebacks; he must have been quite a special guy! This was a great post, I enjoyed it very much. And CONGRATS on being Freshly Pressed!!

    • Thanks, groovylove. Oh, he had so many comebacks! I know I’ve forgotten a lot, because every so often some funny little saying will find its way to the surface of my brain, and I’ll realize that it came from him.

  9. What a nice tribute to your foster father. His comments were very cute. I could see little hands making “chairs” for them to “sit” on. lol Congratulations for being Freshly Pressed!

  10. This all reminded me so much of my Grandpa. He and my grandma were more like my parents (since my parents didn’t seem to want to be parents). They raised me until I was almost 9. They are almost 81 and falling to pieces-fast. Some days are really hard. Stories like these make me remember the funny stuff. My grandpa wasn’t raised, nor did he ever live on a farm or in the south. However, his mothers family grew up mostly uneducated and she had a horrible way of speaking. Her words were often butchered into another creation entirely. He was slightly more educated than her (8th grade education), but still managed to carry some of her ‘slang’ with him.

    He has some doozies. For example, when he is thirsty: “I’m dryer than a popcorn fart.”
    That’s just one of so many. You mentioned some of them in your post. Those sayings will be what I remember most about him. Thanks for the memories of the good old days, because these new days are challenging, at best

    • Yes, these days are challenging. I’m glad to have good memories to help when things tend to get overwhelming.
      I know about those garbled words – my parents never got past 5th grade, but they had life-learning that got them through the lack of book-learning.
      I’ve never heard that one about the popcorn! I love sayings that create a visual for me. Thanks so much for sharing that one, and hold onto the good memories!

  11. great post… i love the proverbs and metaphors my grandmother used all the time…and she d say them in such a way wud make us kids laugh at that age,…but come to think of them now, they were all so true to the bone

    • That is one of the reasons I love colorful sayings like those he used, and that my late husband’s parents used. You can ”say” something, or you can ‘SAY’ something…knowhutImeanvern? (yeah, I watched Ernest a lot)

  12. Pingback: You Can’t Go Home Is Where The Heart Is | birdmanps

  13. Pingback: You Can’t Go Home Is Where The Heart Is | birdmanps

  14. Pingback: Mixin’ It Up « the REmissionary

    • Oh, you should do it! Just writing this made me remember so many good times. And all week other little sayings have been popping up in my mind. I keep thinking, “Oh, I wish I’d remembered that one the other day!”

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