Grandma’s Greatest Hits

With so much upsetting news happening these days, I decided to write about a funny memory regarding my mother and grandmother.

Four years ago, I created a family Facebook page. I invited the three of you, my siblings, several of my first cousins, and most of yours. The first posting was about memorable expressions of those two important women in my lives. Perhaps you remember it.

When we were young, I don’t recall my mother cursing—at least not saying too many 4-letter words in front of us. But she had her own creative ways of letting off steam.

  1. I hate kids.

Need I say more? She still uses that expression, and I promise you, someday there will be a moment when those words will either come out of your mouths or at least cross your minds.

  1. Sugar diabetes!

I believe this was Grandma’s nice way of saying “shit.”

  1. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Somehow, she did not see that this was technically taking the Lord’s name in vain. I believe she probably said it when “sugar diabetes” was not a strong enough way to broadcast her anger to the five of us.

  1. I have 3 words: shit, shit, shit!

I do not recall this phrase being uttered by dear, sweet Grandma when I was young, but in her golden years, this is definitely a frequent favorite.

  1. Shit and shinola

I mentioned this expression to a New York friend years ago, and she was well acquainted with it. However, it turns out the actual phrase is “He doesn’t know shit from shinola.”

Shinola is a brand of shoe polish, so using this phrase would mean an individual is truly stupid, because he could not tell the difference between the two. In my mind, it was another way of letting us know that Grandma was very angry.

  1. When princess Diana married Charles she ‘put her ass in a butter tub.’

I believe my both my grandmother and mother used it, and with the assistance of the good old Google Machine, I found it means Diana was lucky to have married Charles.

  1. It only takes a phone call.

This was Grandma’s way of telling us that we could get in less trouble when staying out late if we just informed her so she would not worry. We have always done this in our family, even as you have all ventured out into the world as adults. When any of us travel on a plane or a particularly long road trip, you always let me know you have arrived safely, and for the continuance of this tradition, I am grateful.

  1. When you have your first car accident, tell your father ‘it’s just one of those things!’

I am certain you all are familiar with this saying of my mother, but I will refresh your memories just in case.

During the final time of one of her pregnancies, Grandma backed out of my uncle’s very steep driveway and hit a small tree. Grandpa was not pleased and let her know. Grandma vowed to remember that day. At a later date, when Grandpa had a fender bender while venturing out one night in the snow, Grandma made a snide remark about his accident. Grandpa responded by telling her, “It was just one of those things.”

So when I got my driver’s license, Grandma instructed me to use those words with my father the first time I had an accident.

I don’t think I had the nerve to do so.

  1. From my grandmother: I have a fart caught in side words.

This is self-explanatory and so funny coming from my grandmother when she informed us of her difficulty in “letting it rip.”

  1. In my next life I am coming back as a man.

Grandma clearly saw the inequity between the sexes. We need to fix that.

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