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We Gather in Faith

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis Christian.

REFLECTIONS

A lot of our common sayings have origins that have little

or nothing to do with the way we use them today. But

those origins are interesting and even entertaining. For

example:

“God willing and the creeks don’t rise.” This comes

from Benjamin Hawkins, an American Indian

diplomat, who was called back to Washington. His

reference to creeks was not to bodies of water but to

the Creek Indian tribe. In other words, I’ll be there if

God permits and the Indians behave themselves.

“Mind your own beeswax.” This comes from the 18th

century custom of women spreading bee’s wax over

their facial skin to cover pockmarks caused by acne.

If one woman stared too much at another she was told

to mind her own beeswax.

“Crack a smile” comes from the same custom. If a

woman with a lot of beeswax on her face smiled too

much, it would crack.

“Losing face” is also related to beeswax. If a woman

with it on her face sat too close to the fireplace it

would begin to melt and she would lose some of her

face.

“Minding your p’s and q’s.” At local taverns people

drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar

maid’s jobs was to pay close attention to who drank

what and so she had to mind the p’s and q’s.

“It’ll cost you an arm and a leg.” Prices charged by

painters and sculptors depended upon how many

limbs were to be shown because limbs were harder to

create.

“Chairman” or “Chairman of the Board” In the late

1700’s many houses had only one large room and one

chair. A long wide board folded down from the wall

and was used for dining. The head of the household

sat in the chair and everyone else on the floor. If a

male guest was invited to dinner, he would be invited

to sit in the chair as the place of honor and hence

became for the evening the chairman or the chairman

of the board.

In a hundred years I wonder what customs we have today

will be the source of figures of speech that will have

nothing to do with the original custom.