Family, Memoir

"Could Be Minnie Did It" and Other Family Sayings

Does your family have any funny sayings or make cryptic remarks to gently chide or tease one another? We do. Several come from funny things children have said, while others are the products of fully grown people. Some are being picked up by a third generation and friends.

Could be Minnie did it was coined from a cousin’s response to my mother’s questions about who had painted her lamp with red nail polish. The little guy to the left had been in the bedroom with the door closed just before she discovered the artwork. Minnie was our dog. (I’m quite certain she was nowhere near that lamp, Rod.) 

After that at our house, when you’d rather not own up to something you’d done, you said, Could be Minnie did it.


I, however, was typing my term paper is an expression Terry and I took from an experience with a renter who was in med school. When her toddler spilled grape juice that stained the light-colored living room rug, she wrote us a long, detailed letter explaining that he had somehow “gotten past his nanny.” While she was very apologetic, she disavowed any responsibility for the mishap with the words, “I, however, was typing my term paper.”

Since then, when someone tries to wiggle out of accepting responsibility, we look at each other and say, I, however, was typing my term paper! (Unfortunately, it’s happened often enough that now Terry just says, I, however … with a big grin on his face.)

Well, we got ourselves a goat originated with my father’s family. When he and his brother were young, their dad bought the family a goat. My grandmother said that for days, the boys admired their new pet and repeatedly told each other, “Well, we got ourselves a goat.” In that household of limited means, it became the standard expression of joy over a new acquisition.

Now when we buy a new car or luxury item, you might hear us say, Well, we got ourselves a goat! (That’s how my friend, Suanne, announces that she’s made a big purchase.)

But he’s a good dog. Our oldest son, Gary, likes dogs and has seldom been without at least one. A number of years ago when he was going out of town, he asked us to keep his Blue Heeler, Taz, for the weekend. We had a fence but were a little nervous about how Taz would handle his new environment. When I expressed my concerns, Gary explained that he wouldn’t be any trouble because “He’s a good dog.” By the time Gary returned, Taz had dug up a flower bed to make a cool place to lie down, terrorized our cats and chewed off the corner of an expensive patio chair. Of course, he was a granddog so we rolled with it.

Now if we think someone is trying to gloss over any negative realities, you might hear us say, But he’s a good dog. And occasionally, we gig Gary by reminding him of his good dog.  (We took that fence down. It interfered with the view.)

     What about you? Do you have any pithy family sayings? I’d love to hear them

The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
and a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.     
Proverbs 25:11-12 THE MESSAGE



    8 thoughts on “"Could Be Minnie Did It" and Other Family Sayings”

    1. Our favorite is “Must 'a been Jeff” – coined very similarly to your Minnie saying. Jeff(an older brother)was away at camp that week. Years later I shared this with another girl who had a brother named Jeff, and it became one of their sayings, too!

      What fun…


    2. Hi Dorothy!
      When my children were small, we had a friend that always had a kitchen full of people of all ages. My husband was a martial artist and was quite often demonstrating some move or other and she would yell, “No karate in the kitchen!” To this day, in our house whenever anyone is doing something inappropriate, someone will yell, “No karate in the kitchen!” Now my children are grown with their own children and I have heard my grandchildren telling someone, “No karate in the kitchen!” I doubt if they even know why we say it. Haha! Our friend is no longer with us in this world, but she lives on whenever we need to keep peace in our homes. Great blog! ~Phyllis Poe (aka Lilia)


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