I remember it like it was yesterday. As kids, my brother Vinnie and I watched a showdown on East Third Street that didn’t go well for a friend of ours and the crowd he ran with. As we saw Yockie and his band limp away, my brother turned to me and thoughtfully said, “If you wanna lead the band, you gotta face the music.”
That phrase came in pretty handy during the Nixon Administration, but it wasn’t the only example of homespun wisdom I grew up with. Sometimes it made sense, and sometimes it…didn’t.
My parents were always keen on ways to save a few dollars and had many crazy ways to deflect the demands of their four kids for snacks. “Chocolate candy in stores all have worms in them” my mom would explain as she breezed past the candy stand, dragging me by the hand.
The Winner and Still Champion
It was my dad, though, who came up with the all-time winner. He outdid himself when he explained why mom never bought bottles of soda. It was because, he explained, ‘You’d just drink it.”
Try being a kid and wrapping your head around that one.
It took twenty years to get even but it was worth it. I was planning my wedding (I paid for everything) and told Dad we weren’t having an open bar, just beer and wine. He said “What??! No scotch?!”
I silently thanked God and said, “But Pop – you’d just drink it.”
But that’s my family’s homespun wisdom (or what passed for it to a kid). How about you? Are there any favorite catchphrases in your family? Tell us your story in the comments!
Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send Open Thread suggestions to email@example.com.