All this talk about origins of expressions came from two sources. As I said yesterday, my sister-in-law suggested it last weekend. Just before I saw her, my husband and I had a heated discussion about a phrase their daddy used.
We got a new television for the upstairs bedroom. The one we were watching was a leftover from my horse showing days. It was in the living quarters of our trailer. It was fine there, but when you put it across the room, it is like watching TV on the back of a cereal box.
So, as we were hooking the set up, Howard notes the picture quality isn't as good as it is downstairs, "But," he says, "It beats a snowball."
What? What in the world are you talking about? He thought everybody had heard that expression and knew what it meant. "My daddy said it. Your daddy said it," he said. "You know....it beats a snowball."
|This longhorn steer ornament on our Christmas tree looks like he has had nothing to eat but snowballs.|
I'm beginning to think dementia has set in. So I researched it, and this is what I found out.
Evidently, it was found in beef cattle lingo and has agricultural origins. For example, a farmer might put out bad hay that the cows weren't excited about eating. The farmer would say, "Well it beats a snowball."
Howard reminded me that farmers used to say of a bad hay season, "Nothing to eat out there but fresh air and sunshine." I must not have been paying attention when feeding was discussed in my farming household.
I have more from my family and my in-laws, but what about yours? Give me some input.