Have you ever found yourself wondering how different expressions come about? Take for instance the phrase, “Bite the bullet.” People often use this expression when they are referring to taking a chance on something. This expression came about due to a dangerous army practice in the 1850’s. Prior to using their rifles, soldiers had to bite off the head of the cartridge to expose the explosive to the spark which would ignite it. This was extremely dangerous and needed courage and firmness to pull it off.
In our family we have many expressions. Many of them are originals. I owe this fact to a particular reason.
They came about because my mother and father have been together for a long time. They are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today. They got married young, came from the same area and know all of the same people. They have many inside jokes.
For instance, when the house gets a little messy one of my parents will say, “It’s starting to look like the Coggins around here.”
Apparently, a family that they both knew from their childhood days were not very good housekeepers. I have no idea who the Coggins are, but seeing that I have heard this expression over 5000 times in my life you better believe that when things are getting a little out of control in the upkeep of our household I say, “It’s staring to look like the Coggins around here.”
I am determined to keep this expression alive, along with many more.
My parents started from meager beginnings. They started out their life living above my grandparent’s general store. They soon moved into their own apartment with their new baby. My Dad went to college and worked full-time. My Mom worked as a nurse and took care of my sister. When my Dad graduated from college he received a job offer 3 hours away, working for the State of Wisconsin designing roads and bridges.
My parents say they moved themselves, my sister and all of their belongings across the state in a Volkswagen Beetle and that included a rubber tree plant.
My Dad always brings up this fact whenever my mom brings home a new piece of dilapidated furniture she recovered from the thrift store to refurbish. He then adds, “Now we would need two semi-trailers” which my mother likes to retort with, “Well, if we didn’t have that stupid treadmill in the basement collecting dust we would have more room.”
They’ve added more than just belongings in the past 50 years too. They added 2 more children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren with one more due any day. Plus many memories….many, many memories.
If you ask them how they managed to stay together so long their answer would be because they are best friends and they know that no one else would put up with them.
However, I do know one other key element that is part of the longevity of their marriage.
Whenever my Mom gets angry with my Dad and yells something along the lines of, “Gosh darn you (insert my Dad’s full name here), why on earth would leave grape jelly blobs on the counter? Why can’t you just wipe them up gosh darn it?”
My Dad busts out in a baritone version of Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” song.
Happy 50th Anniversary Mom & Dad!
I’m so glad you “bit the bullet” and got married and stuck it out all of these years!