Southern-Style Wisdom Passed Down, enjoy it like we say it


“South Cackalacky – it’s not just a place, it’s a state of mind.” Unknown

Our relationship started like most, all over each other like “white on rice.”

John would pick me up in his 1966 blue and white station wagon and borrow a one-liner from his dad, “You look finer than frog hair.” We’d eat dinner, dance at a local club and usually end up parked behind his dad’s service station, “playing smushy face.”

John worked with his dad who everyone called EL (Everett Laverne or Ever Lovin’ – you choose after reading this). John pumped gas, took apart Volkswagen engines, and continued to be shaped by his dad’s sayings.

When I’d drive off after visiting them at work, particularly on a date night, I’d roll down my car window so EL could tell me, “Be good. If you can’t be good, be careful. If you can’t be careful, name it after me.”

Our wedding in a nutshell was the day John “bought the cow because the milk wasn’t free”. EL was there for us after we married, with cooking advice for me, “I wouldn’t eat that with your mouth,” and counsel to John if he wasn’t acting husbandly, “Smooth move, Ex-Lax.”

We were confident when we had children EL’s words would live on and influence them as well. Both times I was pregnant, he said, “You look like you swallowed an air hose.” If he hadn’t told me, who would?

In the kids’ younger years, he saved our son’s life, “You’re starving the boy to death. He’s so hungry he could eat the north end out of a southbound mule.” He saved our daughter’s social life, “If you keep cuttin’ her bangs that short she’s not gonna die, she’s gonna ugly away.”

John quoted his dad during our kids’ elementary school years. When enough was enough, he told them, “I’m going to beat you like a redheaded stepchild.” Every kid knows that’s a bad spanking. If they cried about not getting their way, John said, “I’m going to give you something to cry about.” And if they were good, they were “gooder than goat grease.”

He relied on his dad’s insights during the more-trying middle school days, when the kids whined, “Why can’t I? Everyone else is doing it.” He’d answer, “Don’t let your hippopotamus mouth overload your hummingbird butt.” As soon as our daughter “got a little too big for her britches,” he told her so. The day our son took a step toward him, John stepped up as well, “You aren’t big enough to whoop your old man, and by the time you are, you won’t want to.”

When our kids were high-schoolers, we heard, “If I had a TV, a phone in my room, a car, my own laptop, your credit card, and if I didn’t have to work for any of them, I’d be mature.” John said, “If a bullfrog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his butt.”

One of the kids would leave the house in a huff, “Limp on down the shoulder on the rim.”

They’d disappear when they thought we wanted them around, “I think they went to the bathroom and the hogs ate ‘em.”

And when teachers called about homework not being turned in, “We buy you books, send you to school and all you do is chew the backs off. We don’t want anymore calls, understood?”

The kids have long since moved out and moved on. On their packing day, John shared the same wisdom his dad shared with him, “The door only swings one way.”

To John and EL’s credit, their legacy lives on. Our daughter lives in South Cackalacky (that’s South Carolina, Southern style). And I overheard our son telling a friend, “My dad said when I was big enough to whoop him, I wouldn’t want to. And he was right.”

Surely you have some sayins to share with us. Go ahead. I’m dying to read them.

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Southern-style livin’ may not top the list for being politically correct, but let me tell you, I’m tickled pink with how our family turned out. Thanks to old-fashioned, ever-lovin’ common sense.


15 responses »

  1. And I am very pleased with your parenting and happy with the way your kids turned out too!
    If I heard once I heard a million times…”go out there and get your own switch”…ewww that was terrible….but it sure taught me a thing or two..I say that but I got that dang switch more than twice in my life!

    Now let’s hope that your parenting skills work on felines!

    • Oh, my, my, my! I’ve read that the techniques we used with our kids are ineffective when tried on any animal named after an alligator. I know, I could hardly believe it either but I think Rusty’s already figured that one out on his own. : )

      Rusty 0
      Gator 53

  2. Good reminders , some of which I heard growing up too. And others if I took time to write them down.I;m sure we all pass along things like that to our folks, part of the family tradition heritage thing, as in the day when history was passed along through word of mouth. Thanks Kim

  3. My husband’s family is from South Carolina so I have heard some version of most of these. Hubby’s favorite saying is “Shoot Luke, the air’s full of canaries.” A Texas friend says someone is “more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” These are wonderful family memories that will keep his legacy alive.

    • I got a kick out of writing it back then, Mary. When I remembered it today, I was flooded with gratitude that I had his sayings already on paper to read and re-read. ❤ He would especially appreciate your Texas friend's saying about the cat.

  4. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Gayle Sloan, Theresa Jordan and 48 others


    Karen Hough Kim Henson thank you so much for sharing this. Man it brought back so many memories of my dad … he was an original South Cackylacyian and said so many of the same things to us growing up. When I threatened to move out on my own he told me Don’t let door hit’cha where the good Lord split’cha!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:36pm

    Kim Henson Karen Hough, I’m sure Pop Pop said that one too. He had others, but they weren’t appropriate for a blog post. 😉
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Susan Blanton Roche Tears of happy thoughts. I heard all or most of those as well. Don’t forget, “6:00 comes early”.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:38pm

    Kim Henson And he was up by that time every single morning, Susan Blanton Roche. Called John plenty of times by 6:30 because he thought we all jumped out of bed like he did. We did have many good times, didn’t we? ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Susan Blanton Roche Yes we sure did!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson
    Like · Reply · 22 hrs

    Delilah Lewis Kim thanks for sharing that about EL, it sounds just like him. I loved that man and enjoyed being around him. He was a hoot. Love you and John😘
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:41pm

    Kim Henson It does sound just like him, Delilah Lewis. 🙂 I know he loved you too and so do I. ❤ Thanks for loving our family.
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Wanda Doyal He sounds absolutely delightful♡
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:52pm

    Kim Henson He was, Wanda Doyal. He had a saying for everything. Some weren't appropriate for the blog post. 😉
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Wanda Doyal Even Better ♡ All about the Color♡
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs

    Kim Henson Wanda Doyal, hahaha. You would have loved him and every single one of his sayings. ❤
    Like · Reply · 17 hrs

    Jenine Marie Howry I love the sayings. We had a few but not as fun as some of yours 😉
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 3:02pm

    Kim Henson Jenine Marie Howry, he had a lot more, but I had to censor them. Even the ones in the blog post aren't exactly how he said them. 😉 lol.
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Jenine Marie Howry Im laughing because I just remembered one you mentioned to me awhile back and I think I almost peed my pants. Too funny
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

    Kim Henson Bahahahaha, Jenine Marie Howry. Yeah, that one got edited out!!! There was no place to mention a punch bowl in this story. 😀
    Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs

    Jenine Marie Howry lol I'm laughing
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 16 hrs

    Kim Henson Jenine Marie Howry, me too.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 14 hrs

    Jean Steen I loved every minute of reading this…reminded me of my own parents!!! Thanks for sharing!😘
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 3:13pm · Edited

    Kim Henson Thanks for reading, Jean Steen. ❤ It's fun to share the happy memories.
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Jean Steen Yes it is!!! 😍
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs

    John B. Henson Thank you sweetie. I love this post. ❤️
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 3:24pm

    Kim Henson I couldn't have written it without you, John B. Henson. ❤
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Debbie Johnson Everette L. Henson had a saying for everything! He kept us laughing.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Kim Henson Debbie Johnson, he sure did. 🙂 My all-time favorite was, "That went over like a turd in a punchbowl."
    Like · Reply · Just now

    Kathy Andros Eckert Very special. What a legacy and I won't stop praying for you all.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 3:43pm

    Kim Henson We sure appreciate it, Kathy Andros Eckert.<3 I'm happy I remembered this one. It's fun to reminisce.
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Mary Catherine Sargent Reading the sayings reminds me of my Stepdad Bob. He would say about the same thing. He would say "like hair on a frog" or ask Mother if she could fix him a slice of "worn out bread with butter." He had lot of the same sayings. Lot of memories of our growing up years.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 3:53pm

    Kim Henson Special memories, Mary Catherine Sargent. ❤ Pop Pop had a lot more, but I had to censor them. 😉 lol
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs · Edited

    Debra Key Basinger So sorry, sending hugs and prayers 🙏🙏
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 3:57pm

    Kim Henson Thanks, Debra Key Basinger. ❤ It was good to see you in person this morning. I'm praying for you too.
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Debra Key Basinger Thank you Kimmie 😘
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

    Kim Henson 🙂
    Like · Reply · 14 hrs

    Rhonda C. Hensley I love this! What a treasured piece to print and share with family. This brought back memories of sayings I heard growing up.
    Prayers and hugs for you all during this difficult time.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Rhonda C. Hensley. This let's me know how important our writing is … at least to us. ❤ I sure appreciate your prayers.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Karen Garling Rex Prayers for all of you, Kim. Sending love to you. ❤
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson I appreciate it, Karen Garling Rex. ❤ Thank you!
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Nancy Allen Purvis Thoughts and prayers are with you!!!🙏🏻
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Nancy Allen Purvis. ❤ ❤ ❤
    Like · Reply · 22 hrs

    Debbie Johnson We appreciate those ,Nancy!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Helen White Forehand Kim, I truly loved reading this….Love and prayers.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Helen White Forehand. ❤ I loved writing it.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs

    Tammy James Quinn I love this so much….we have so many sayings remembered but I can't think of one because my heart is breaking. It's so tough losing our elders….I really miss all those who've gone before. Love and prayers ❤ 😦
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

    Kim Henson Tammy James Quinn, I started writing down Pop Pop's sayings years ago. Kept them in an notebook because I knew one day I may not remember them all and I wanted to. ❤ Thank you!
    Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs

    Nancy Launi Thinking of you and sending love and hugs.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 20 hrs

    Kim Henson Thank you, Nancy Launi. ❤ Love you.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs
    Mary McKerihan Wilson Loved this–left a comment on your blog.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs

    Kim Henson Thank you, Mary McKerihan Wilson. I started editing it, but then stopped myself.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs

    Tammy Tigner So many of the adages brought memories and tears to my eyes. I still miss and love those in my family that passed them along to me and me onto my sons. My great grandfather used to say, "the wheel that squeaks the loudest, gets the most grease." Amazing how they all take a profound meaning as you grow up and start to fuller understand the depth of what was said. Not a day goes by that many of those adages come to mind and bring tears of joy and sometimes sorrow as I remember them, count my blessings at how lucky I was to have them all in my life, and most of all I take the time to pass down that part of my heritage that was so crucial in my upbringing. Thanks Kim for sharing that article. I pray for you and your family as you say your farewells. I am happy that you get to say goodbye, and pray for you to have the courage to do so. I always enjoy reading what you have to say. God bless and may you and your family have peace.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 13 hrs

    Kim Henson I appreciate your kind comment and your prayers, Tammy Tigner. ❤ John's dad used to say that one about the squeaky wheel too. He had a bunch of sayings. They will offer funny and special memories for years to come.
    Like · Reply · 4 hrs · Edited

    Jimmy Masters · Friends with John B. Henson
    Prayers for you all
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 6 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Jimmy. John and I appreciate it. I'll be sure he sees this.
    Like · Reply · 4 hrs

    Christy Young These sayings are great! I'm sure they will bring smiles to your family for generations to come. He sounds like someone I would have enjoyed knowing.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs

    Kim Henson You would have loved him, Christy Young. ❤ And laughed a lot … I love your laugh, btw. I'm happy we have the appropriate ones in writing. The rest (the more colorful ones) we can all remember, no problem. 😉
    Like · Reply · 2 hrs

    Anjana C. Duff Aww, love this! True southern charm! 😉 Wonderful memories that will keep you and your family smiling forever. 🙂 xo
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 13 at 5:29pm

    Kim Henson I’m so happy we have some of them in writing, Anjana C. Duff. ❤ The rest weren't appropriate for Facebook, so you know we'll remember those easily. 😉
    Like · Reply · Just now

  5. From Facebook (Debbie Johnson’s page) ~

    This was written by one of my best friends and my sweet sister-in-law. This is full of memories that I would like to share. She is writing about my stepfather and her father-in-law and her family years ago.

    Blog post: Southern-Style Wisdom Passed Down, enjoy it like we say it
    Our relationship started like most, all over each other like “white on rice.” John would pick me up in his 1966 blue and white station wagon and borrow a one-liner…

    Amy Oliver Causey, Rilla A. Thomas and 4 others

    Rilla A. Thomas Great story!
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · April 13 at 8:39pm

    Debbie Johnson He had so many sayings. He was from Missouri and so he brought some midwest sayings to the south. Kim had written this back in 2010, but it’s so perfect to read it now.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 8 hrs

    Kim Henson ❤
    Like · Reply · Just now

    Kim Henson Debbie Johnson, thanks so much for your sweet comment and for passing this along. I love you! ❤
    Like · Reply · Just now

  6. From Facebook (John B. Henson’s page) ~

    Louise Dash Allison, Maron Mccoy Middleton and 5 others


    Kim Henson ❤
    Like · Reply · April 12 at 5:09pm

    Grey Kiser I love your writings, especially this one. I can relate.😎
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 12 at 6:27pm

    Kim Henson Thanks, Grey. I appreciate y'all! ❤
    Like · Reply · April 12 at 10:38pm

  7. From Facebook (Christy Young’s page) ~

    Barbara Washington and 2 others

    Jan Smith Love it. I’ve heard many of those sayings. My husband, Noel, may he Rest In Peace, used to say, “buy em books and send them to school.” And he grew up in the Midwest. Maybe it’s a man thing.
    Like · Reply · April 13 at 6:28pm

    Kim Henson Thanks for passing this along, Christy Young. ❤
    Like · Reply · 4 mins

  8. From Facebook (Patty Henson Anderson’s page) ~

    Mary Stalvey and 5 others

    Jean Cenname Beautiful word to be carried on generation to generation.
    Like · Reply · April 12 at 5:38pm

    Jessica Warren Loved this!
    Like · Reply · April 12 at 8:19pm

    Martha Henson Burke So nice I love this
    Like · Reply · April 12 at 8:47pm

    Kim Henson ❤
    Like · Reply · April 12 at 10:35pm

  9. From Facebook (Scarlett Henson’s page) ~


    Kim Henson ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · April 12 at 5:09pm

    Scarlett Henson Thank you for writing that. It's so cute. What a great and often times inappropriate legacy. We wouldn't have it any other way tho right?
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 12 at 5:11pm

    Kim Henson Scarlett Henson, that's right! I wish I could have included every one of his saying, but FB would have blocked me. 😉 I love you! ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · April 12 at 10:37pm

    Scarlett Henson U too Kim! 💕 Lol!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 13 at 8:22am

  10. From Facebook (Tim Henson’s page) ~

    Susan Blanton Roche and 4 others

    Kim Henson ❤
    Like · Reply · April 12 at 5:09pm

    Tim Henson ❤️
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 12 at 6:18pm

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