"Let Us Be Happy in Our Work"
This post won’t mean anything to non-family members, but it is a tribute to my father. The words or expressions will always conjure up the sight of Robert, and the memory of his unique vocabulary. Additional entries that any of you remember, can be inserted in the comments.
“For two cents I would...” The famous words which inevitably led to an abrupt change in plans, in any direction Papa wanted.
“Let us be happy in our work.” Originally entering the house via The Bridge on the River Kwai and immortally preserved on a tiny reel to reel tape recorder, prior to a weekend excursion to Baja, these words reflect the man who went to work every day of his life, regardless of whether or not he was sick. “If I have to be sick anyway, I may as well go to work and get paid for it. I’ll save my sick days for going photing.” *
“Do you know where you’re at?” One of many standard greetings from my father, and an easy one for this small boy. “Yes, Papa. I’m right here.” His response? “Well. see that you don’t forget it.”
“That’s the way the old mop flops.” Possibly the way he would address the fact that, while he was shaving at the sink in the only bathroom in our house, I was utilizing the toilet to empty the contents of my stomach. :(
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles.” (See above :)
“You fetcha, you betcha,” and “You better believe it,” were interchangeable.
"Jabonie," a word coined by Papa to describe a guy or a dude.
"Promangulated," as in, “Who promangulated the atmosphere?” when he encountered some foul odor.
“Them thar wheels is going round and round.” A multitude of applications.
“You need to go out and cut a peach switch and, Mister, if it isn’t big enough, I will go out and cut one, and if I do, you will wish that I hadn’t.” He only spanked me when I placed myself in danger, such as going out into the street, or riding my bike recklessly. (If I could have ridden it wreck-lessly, then I would have been OK.) By the way he never had to go out and cut a switch.
“I’ll play a tune on your moon [with a peach switch].” A threat that one could interpret to mean that he meant business, but that he was not angry.
“I don’t care what Bobby and Suzie do, Mister. If you so much a look at me crooked, you will spend the rest of the night in the car. Is that understood?” This prior to going to Auntie Anne and Grandpa’s house; they were not only my grandparents, they were my godparents. One of the hydrogen light bulbs of my childhood.
“[Fill-in-the-blank] can’t help the way his mother dresses him in the morning.” Used any time anyone in his arena did anything that lurched his boat.
“Shall we adjourn to the other room?” Most notably on Christmas morning, but any time he was expressing the desire for Mama and him to exit, stage left.
“When you are an ADD-ult, you may do such and such...” He emphasized that first syllable of the word, adult.
“Beer is for pigs and peasants...” Notwithstanding, he did indulge in beer upon occasion, though his druthers dictated Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey. His druthers may have dictated Bushmill’s, but his wallet dictated Old Crow. Sigh.
“I better not hear about the white fathers beating you, because if I find out that you got smacked at school, you’re going to get double from me.” My father never spanked me for behavior at school, because too many of his tales included his own educational indiscretions. (All nine of his children have attained at least a BA, with a couple of doctorates, a passel of masters degrees, and overall, a collective mass of learning.)
“Strictly for medicinal purposes, you understand.” There was always a twinkle accompanying these words, as he raised his shot glass heavenwards, and downed his libation.
“When Papa goes on vacation, everyone goes on vacation.” Famous words uttered to Augie, Brian’s boss at Sunrize market, when he told Brian that he could not have time off to go down to Baja with the family.
“Hey, Brian, Matt, Mark, whatever you’re name is...” Well, there were nine of us for him to keep track of.
“Some day I’m going to open a restaurant.” He did love to cook.
“Ummmm. This is mighty fine wall-paper paste we’re having this evening.” I never felt that Mama fully appreciated the wit he presented when editorializing about the pudding served for dessert.
“It’s a poor dealer who can’t deal himself a good hand.” The master at poker, he taught us well.
“Never win the first pot.” He believed it was bad luck to sprint out the gate, but I never saw him put the loot back into the center of the table.
“Did you ever hear the story about Peter? Poor Peter, zigged when he should have zagged...” When getting a haircut, he was not a fan of wriggling. He told us about poor Peter, who lost his head, when he zigged, instead of zagging. I knew exactly what he meant.
“It is better to give than to receive.” Inevitably uttered on the way to the dump.
“Willie Mays is a gentleman.” In a household of Dodger fans, he bucked the trend by being a fan of a San Francisco Giant, treasonous behavior if ever there was such.
“Pipe down back there.” The noise level in the back seat of the car, would produce this admonishment.
“What did you learn in school today?” and “What was the gospel about,” were two frequently asked questions, that I tried to have ready responses for, especially the one about the gospel.
“This ain’t no kitchen, and I don’t need no soup.” His response when a wheel-barrow of concrete was brought to him that was too loose.
“Throw the *&%*#* level away. We don’t need no stinkin levels.” When laying brick or block, after setting up the corners, he used a string. Only.
(The correct pronunciation of “photing” is fishing).