© John H. Beaumont 2007-2018 All Rights Reserved
Some facts that you did not know... Did you know  the saying "God willing and the Creek don't rise" was in reference to the Creek Indians and not a body of water?  It was written by Benjamin  Hawkins in the late 18th century.  He was a  politician and Indian diplomat.  While in the  south, Hawkins was requested by the President of  the U.S. to return to Washington .  In his  response, he was said to write, "God willing and  the Creek don't rise."  Because he  capitalized the word "Creek" it is deduced that he  was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not a  body of water. ************************************** In George  Washington's days, there were no cameras.  One's  image was either sculpted or painted.  Some  paintings of George Washington showed him standing  behind a desk with one arm behind his back while  others showed both legs and both arms.   Prices charged by painters were not based on how  many people were to be painted, but by how many  limbs were to be painted.  Arms and legs are  'limbs,' therefore painting them would cost the  buyer more..  Hence the expression, 'Okay, but  it'll cost you an arm and a leg.'    (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to  paint) ************************************ As  incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths  only twice a year (May and October) Women kept  their hair covered, while men shaved their heads  (because of lice and bugs) and wore  wigs.   Wealthy men could afford good  wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs,  so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of  bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for  30 minutes.   The heat would make the  wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig... '  Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy. ************************************** In the late  1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with  only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded  down from the wall, and was used for dining. The  'head of the household' always sat in the chair  while everyone else ate sitting on the  floor.   Occasionally a guest, who was  usually a man, would be invited to sit in this  chair during a meal.. To sit in the chair meant  you were important and in charge.  They  called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair  man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title 'Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'      ************************************** Personal  hygiene left much room for improvement.. As a  result, many women and men had developed acne  scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's  wax over their facial skin to smooth out their  complexions.  When they were speaking to each  other, if a woman began to stare at another  woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's  wax.'  Should the woman smile, the wax would  crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'.  In  addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt .... Therefore, the expression 'losing face.'    ************************************** Ladies wore  corsets, which would lace up in the front. A  proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced'  wore a tightly tied lace.. ************************************** Common  entertainment included playing cards. However,  there was a tax levied when purchasing playing  cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of  Spades...'  To avoid paying the tax, people  would purchase 51 cards instead.  Yet, since  most games require 52 cards, these people were  thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't  'playing with a full deck..' ************************************** Early  politicians required feedback from the public to  determine what the people considered important.  Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios,  the politicians sent their assistants to local  taverns, pubs, and bars.  They were told to  'go sip some Ale and listen to people's  conversations and political concerns. Many  assistants were dispatched at different  times.  'You go sip here' and 'You go sip  there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually  combined when referring to the local opinion and,  thus we have the term 'gossip.' ************************************** At local  taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint  and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was  to keep an eye on the customers and keep the  drinks coming.  She had to pay close  attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints'  and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the phrase  'minding your 'P's and Q's'. ************************************** One more: bet you didn't know  this! In the  heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many  freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons  fired round iron cannon balls.  It was  necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon.  However, how to prevent them from rolling about  the deck?   The best storage method  devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball  on top, resting on four resting on nine, which  rested on sixteen.  Thus, a supply of 30  cannon balls could be stacked in a small area  right next to the cannon.  There was only one  problem....how to prevent the bottom layer from  sliding or rolling from under the others. The  solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with  16 round indentations.   However, if  this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would  quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting  problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few   landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more  and much faster than iron when chilled..  Consequently, when the temperature dropped too  far, the brass indentations would shrink so much  that the iron cannonballs would come right off the  monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough  to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this  time, you thought that was an improper expression,  didn't you.)