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Old 08-11-2006, 07:21 AM   #1
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Origin of Old Sayings

Life in the 1500's

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the
water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to
be. Here are some facts about the 1500's:

These are interesting...

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in
May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting
to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence, the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house
had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and
men, then the women and finally the children Last of all the babies.
By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.
Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the
cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it
rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off
the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This
posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could
mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung
over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came
into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.
Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would
get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on
floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added
more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the
saying a "thresh hold."

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that
always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added
things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get
cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in
it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas
porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.
It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They
would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and
"chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid
content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of
the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking
along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the
family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they
would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the
bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these
coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the
inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they
would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would
have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to
listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was
considered a "dead ringer."

And that's the truth... Now, whoever said that History was boring ! !


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Old 08-11-2006, 07:33 AM   #2
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Well now, it's 5:30 in the a.m., so it can't be you were bored out of your mind last nite, or you were sipping some type of mind altering liquid....so boring morning Jan????

All is so interesting - thank you for sharing.

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Old 08-11-2006, 08:10 AM   #3
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Roman soldiers were paid in salt or sal that is where salary comes from.

In a horse race, a longshot named upset came around the turn and beat the favorite. That is where upset comes
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:44 AM   #4
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I wasn't researching this morning, CJS...I got it in an email.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:03 AM   #5
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Well, I've had some first hand experiences of a few old sayings, one in particular...

you build the fence, build the barn, get in some hay, buy some animals, supervise the births, and finally sit down to milk out that first pail of milk, when the goat simply picks up her hoof, places it on the edge of the pail and flips the pail.....you instantly burst into tears...

There's no use crying over spilled milk.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:07 AM   #6
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That e-mail has been floating around the Internet for several years. According to one source, it's pure B.S. Check this site:

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Old 08-11-2006, 10:32 AM   #7
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OK...but it sure sounded reasonable to me.
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Old 08-11-2006, 11:41 AM   #8
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Interesting.. true or not it was fun to read. Thanks!
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. Robert Frost
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Old 08-11-2006, 11:59 AM   #9
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It would have never occurred to me to check Snopes on that...
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Old 08-11-2006, 12:20 PM   #10
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I love reading things like this !

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