Another one that mystifies me is “In a pig’s eye.” I’ve tracked it in literature to before the middle of the 19th century, but have never found an acceptable origin.
Others are so common we can attribute them to the Holy Bible or to Shakespeare. “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” “No need to gild the lily.” Ben Franklin also had his share of wise sayings. Things like “A penny saved is a penny earned” or “Early to bed, early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” How about “A stitch in time saves nine?”
Helga Bradford gave me a good one translated from German: “Someday day you’ll eat wooden apples.” That’s a new one on me.
Kaye had a couple I like. One of them is “Least said, soonest mended.” Her all-time favorite after finishing a hearty meal is “My sufficiency has been suffonsified and my fancy is full.” Charming.
I’ll throw out a few more just to lubricate your own memory machines. “Nuts and no Christmas.” “It’s a pig in a poke.” “It’s curtains for you.” “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” “She’s all fur coat and no knickers.” “You’re as slow as molasses in January.” “Cat got your tongue?” “Knock on wood.” “Break a leg.”
My late mother was a task master (mistress) and uttered classics to chastise or encourage her errant second son. Sometimes I had no idea what she meant; but I always knew that she meant business. “Don’t ever give up” stayed with me forever and I used it in my book “Little Champy Goes to School.” I have been on the brink of cashing in my chips and folding my hand on many occasions and her words of motherly wisdom have often jerked me back from the edge.