Cousins, Family, Family History, Family Proverbs, Memoir


Earlier, I wrote about some expressions our family uses to make a point and asked you to share yours. A couple of folks responded with cute stories about their own family sayings. One group blamed everything on the brother away at camp, and the other’s involved the statement No Karate in the kitchen. In both cases, the phrases are still in use. Both made me smile. Thanks for sharing!

Here are a few more things Terry and I say on a regular basis.

I’m happy to say that both boys have grown up to be kind, polite young men!

Someone has two toys entered our vocabulary when some of our very young grandchildren were playing together at a holiday dinner. One particularly impulsive young’un had a habit of grabbing toys away from the other children. I can still see the earnest face of his cousin looking up at me as he tactfully voiced a plea for adult intervention. Now when one of us appears to be hogging something, you’ll hear the other say, Someone has two toys. It’s a great way to make a point without having a row.

No thank you. It doesn’t look delicious originated at a Christmas dinner when our young grandson politely stonewalled his aunt’s efforts to get him to try gravy on his mashed potatoes. (His response was accompanied by a small “Stop” hand signal to assure that none of the suspicious dish made it onto his plate.)  Now, if I’m offered a piece of coconut pie (which is not my favorite flavor), I will politely say, “No, thank you.” If you see me make a little “Stop” signal with my hand, I could also be thinking, It doesn’t look delicious. (Our neighbor, Cissy, has adopted this remark!)

  •  It’s just right is one of my favorite things to say to people apologizing for what they consider to be disappointing outcomes from their efforts. If the cake was lopsided or the roast not so tender, you could always count on the Dale women to employ the phrase It’s just right – stretching out Juuust for emphasis. Consequently, in our family if you’ve worked hard at something but are a little embarrassed by the results and try to apologize, you are bound to hear someone cut off your apology with the words It’s Just Right! (My cousin, Larry, uses it and my husband, Terry, has taken it up.)

The person I associate most with the phrase is my Aunt Dorothy. She and her sister, Betty, were champions of their nieces and nephews. Memories of her inspired this poem.

Family Motto
 Just right, she said,
when you’d done your best
but made a mess.
Just right.
Just right! She knew the
impulse of the deed was
greater than its final form.
Just right!
‘Though long she’s slept,
when efforts somehow disappoint,
in my heart I hear her voice,
It’s juuust right!

7 thoughts on “MORE FAMILY TALK”

  1. I, too, really liked the one you received about No Karate in the Kitchen. Has such a nice, poetic ring to it! But Someone Has Two Toys will find its way into my life, too. And your poem is a very poignant way to remember that Aunt.
    Just lovin' it, DJ.


  2. I love all of these. And I'm reminded of one of our family sayings…When my son Tate was around ten years old, he stayed the night with his best friend Cole. When Cole's dad (who was also his scout master) announced they would be having 'breakfast for supper' Tate replied “well that's just not gonna work for me.”

    We still say that in our family. T.


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