Idioms From My Grandmother

A group of us from work were going to lunch last week. As usual, it becomes a crazy, silly conversation on the way to wherever we’re going. I can’t even remember how it started. I think it began by someone bringing up an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress”. Maybe it had something to do with the color of the wedding dress. But I found myself blurting out, “Married in blue, your lover is true.”

Someone said that they had never heard that before. And that was all it took.

Married in green, you’ll live like a queen

Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead

Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow

Married in brown, you’ll travel around

Married in pink, you’ll live in a stink

Married in white, your choice is right

Married in black, you’ll wish yourself back (or you’ll ride in a hack)

I was young when I learned these from my grandmother. She told me these were true, whether she was just keeping me entertained or she truly believed them, I’m not sure. She was rather superstitious. She said her mother was married in brown and she never lived in one place for very long. Ma told me that she was married in pink. “Just look at this place!”, she said.

Later in the work week, someone said their palmed itched and that meant that they would be getting some money. Again, my grandmother popped into my mind. “No”, I said. “Only if it’s your left palm. If you right palm itches that means you’re going to meet a stranger. If the bottoms of your feet itch that means you’re going to walk on strange ground.” The receptionist just looked at me and shook her head.

My grandmother was superstitious, I suppose. I remember once being at my mother’s and Ma was in the kitchen doing something. As i was talking to her, I began to spin a chair around on one leg. She stopped what she was doing and said “Don’t spin that chair around like that. Someone will get hurt later in the day.” I continued to spin the chair on it’s leg and told her “That’s just silly.” A couple of hours later some of my aunts came over. They decided they wanted to come see my apartment. I left and they followed me. When we got out of the cars and started up the sidewalk my grandmother fell and broke her elbow.

After she got home from the emergency room, I told her that I was so sorry and that I would never spin a chair around again on one leg. She said, “Oh honey! Don’t be silly, that’s just an old wive’s tale.”

I keep my eye out for black cats crossing my path.

I don’t open umbrellas in the house.

I don’t walk under ladders.

I put my right shoe on first.

I don’t put hats on the beds.

When my ears ring, I wonder who is talking about me.

I don’t pick up coins unless they are heads up

But like my grandmother, I’m not superstitious either.


  1. The day I went into labor with Amy I had to raise both arms above my head to get something down. I looked at Isaac and said “glad Ma’s not here to see me doing this” because she had told me repeatly that raising both arms above my head at the same time would cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the babies neck. That night Amy was born with difficulty because her cord was wrapped twice around her neck . I actually felt guilty and I never told Ma.

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