Monday, August 10, 2009

Hogs and quiches


My dad just called me to talk to me for a minute. Before he said goodbye to me, he said, “Hogs and quiches.” This is our strange little family saying for hugs and kisses. It made me think about all those odd little family sayings, nicknames and jokes that most every family has. My mother’s extended family abounds with nicknames. She has an uncle “Swede” and her grandfather was always known as Beano.

My father’s extended family, being English, abounds in strange little phrases and family stories. When my dad pours a cup of tea from the teapot and it is too weak, he says we need to “show it to the pictures”. This comes from my great-grandmother who had a friend that would never put enough tea into the teapot because she was a cheapskate. Instead, she would pick up the teapot and use it as a pointer. She would wave it about and tell my great-grandmother to “look at that lovely photo of Susan” or “isn’t that a good likeness of Ethel” in order to get the tea to steep well enough to be drinkable.

We have lots of tea related sayings. “Water bewitched and tea begrudged” is what you say if the tea is weak. “Kisses and lies go to the side but a gift stays in the middle” refers to the bubbles that form on the tea’s surface after a good stirring. “Better to burst bellies than to waste good tea” means you’d better finish the pot rather than throw tea away.

I’m not sure when or where hogs and quiches originated but it is always makes me smile to hear my father say it to me.

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