Today, people do not talk in riddles like they used to.  My grandmother was full of chestnuts, or to use a better word, parables.  You may remember one out of Forrest Gump.

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”

That one is pretty self explanatory. I suspect they did that for the movie going audience because most would not understand the old southern tradition of parables.  I know them because most of my grandmother’s chestnuts were not nearly that clear. She liked to make you ponder the meaning, make you use your brain to get you to see the meaning. And on some days, she just did not give a damn if you understood or not.  Getting it out of her system and into the air was enough.  So since I have mentally started channeling my grandmother from the grave, I will endeavor to explain some of the more cryptic ones, the ones that took me over 50 years to understand.

Pretty is as pretty does.

Grandma wanted you to know that even if you were good looking you needed to be well behaved too.  Just because you’re pretty that isn’t enough.  You can get by, but we laugh at the beauty queens who cannot answer the questions in the competitions because they are prime examples of this saying,

A hard head will make a soft ass.

This was one of her favorites. I think she was trying to say that you can do it your way, but if it’s not the acceptable way, someone is going to come up and kick your ass until it is tenderized like a steak in a fancy restaurant.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach

I know I don’t have to explain that one, but Grandma had an addendum to it that she would mutter under her breath, which was “and a little lower down!”

Fat meat ain’t greasy

Which meant that some people will not believe the truth if they bite into it and the grease ran down their chins.  We today you will hear that “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

Evil don’t die easy

This one had to do with people that she didn’t like.  When you wish they would drop dead, they seem to get stronger. But it also meant that some people are made to suffer before they die, so that holy retribution had taken time to work of them before they were allowed to die.

Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

Given bad materials, you get a bad result.  Given elegant materials, you get an elegant result.  So when a person tries to change another person, no matter how much you work you do on them, you end up with something equal or lessor than what you started with.

You might get a purse, but it will not be an elegant silk one.

Since everyone can figure out the ‘One person’s trash is another person’s treasure’ I hope these chestnuts have amused and enlightened you.  Come back, I have a few more in another post.

2 thoughts on “CHESTNUTS

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