Friday, August 08, 2008


Both my Mom and Dad had their favorite catchphrases that
we heard many times as we grew up.

One of the earliest I recall is "as the crow flies". This
supposedly dated back to when my parents were first married
and lived for a short while "uphome" in Maine. They were
driving someplace and Dad stopped to ask someone by the
side of the road how far it was to where they were going and
the man answered it was so many miles "as the crow flies".
Another phrase she heard was "up the road apiece".
My Mom, a city girl, thought these were highly illogical
descriptions and for years after whenever we were going
somewhere and we kids asked how much further we had to
go, Dad would say "Up the road a piece" and Mom would add
"as the crow flies."

During the CB era, my folks' "handles" matched in a way.
Dad was "Farmer Brown" and Mom was "Mother Nature".
Some of her conversations with other travelers or with
truckers inevitably lead to "It's not nice to fool with Mother

And a few times when one of us was going out somewhere with
friends we'd get Mom's "If you get into a car accident and hurt,
I'll kill you."

But the one I first heard Dad use and that I use myself now
was his euphemism for a trip to the bathroom: "I'm going to
visit the Fortress of Solitude." We have headphones at my
job and whenever I need to take a bathroom break I tell the
floor manager "I need to visit the Fortress of Solitude." In
fact, it's now used by several other of my coworkers as well.

I think Dad might gave gotten a kick out of that!

UPDATE 08/10: I thought of this one today while on my
vacation. Dad occasionally amswered the phone with:
"Kelley's Pool Hall." Many times whoever was calling would
say "Sorry, wrong number!", hang up and then dial our
number again and Dad would answer it again but normally.
Some of my friends never caught on to Dad's trick!

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