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© Joan Currie

The early bird catches the worm.

I spied a tiny bird house in this tree while walking in the park and it reminded me of some of the proverbs and expressions that have been embedded in my brain since I was a child. In fact, thinking back, I was astounded at how many proverbs my relatives used in everyday conversation.

Proverbs were very powerful! My mother could win an argument by selecting just the right one – akin to playing an ace in bridge (beaten only by Bible verses, the ultimate trump cards).

Here are the proverbs that my family used most frequently:

1.  You can’t fly with the eagles if you hoot with the owls.
2.  Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
3.  Don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.
4.  It’s the hours of sleep before midnight that count.
5.  Blood is thicker than water.
6.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
7.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
8.  Neither a borrower or a lender be.
9.  Fish and guests go bad after three days.
10 Still waters run deep.
11. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
12. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
13. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
14. Familiarity breeds contempt.
15. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
16. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
17. Out of sight, out of mind.
18. Don’t cast pearls before swine.
19. Little pitchers have big ears.
20. Beauty is only skin deep.
21. Every house has a tiny cross on it. (My maternal grandmother used this one.)
22. There’s no fool like an old fool.
23. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
24. Beggars can’t be choosers.
25. There’s more fish in the sea.
26. Better safe than sorry.
27. Better the devil you know that the devil you don’t.
28. Cheaters never prosper.
29. A monkey that wears a golden ring, is – and stays, an ugly thing.
30. Two wrongs don’t make a right. (My mother’s favorite.)
31. Feed a cold, starve a fever.
32. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
33. It is no use crying over spilt milk.
34. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
35. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
36. Every cloud has a silver lining.
38. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. (A big one with my paternal grandmother.)
39. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
40. Don’t trouble trouble, ’til trouble troubles you! (My father’s favorite.)
41. Let sleeping dogs lie.
42. Do as I say, not as I do.
43. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
44. That is the pot calling the kettle black.
45. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
and of course…
46. If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you? (I hate to admit that I used this one more than once with my own daughters.)