Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Idiomatically Speaking

It was a weekend of idioms for me! The proverbial light bulb came on three times as I was reading or watching videos. Here what happened:

Sidetracked – I’m very familiar with this, as it happens to me on a regular basis. But I’d really never thought of where the word came from. I’m reading This Train is Bound for Glory: The Story of America’s Chapel Cars, a book which chronicles the phenomenon of train cars that traveled throughout the Western United States from the 1890s to the 1930s to bring the gospel to areas without churches. G.H. Herrick, a Sunday school superintendent in Minnesota, ”found himself without a place to conduct Sunday school. He made a request of the railroad company that a passenger coach be sidetracked in town; the company responded favorably, and for an entire winter a Sunday school was conducted in that passenger car” (page 11). The siding is a turnout at a train yard, so a train that has been moved to the siding has been sidetracked, diverted from its main purpose. Hmm, so that's what happens.

Learning the ropes – We were watching a documentary about Christopher Columbus and the ships that were built and sailed for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ 1492 voyage. Because the sails are controlled by many, many ropes, the crew had to be “taught the ropes” so they would know what each rope did. What an important step for any of us in learning a new skill.

Getting up with the rooster – Of course that means getting up early. Sunday afternoon at my sister’s house we watched Temple Grandin, the new HBO movie about an amazing woman with autism. We took Samuel to hear her a couple of years ago. The movie was difficult to watch, but really wonderful. (If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you rent it when it comes out or watch it when they run it again on HBO. Sorry; I got a little sidetracked there.) The day she arrived at her aunt and uncle’s ranch her aunt was, you know, teaching her the ropes. Temple thinks in pictures, so when her aunt told her she'd probably better get to bed early because “we get up with the rooster around here,” a puzzled look came over Temple’s face as a picture came to her mind. It was of her aunt and uncle, in their pajamas and bathrobes, sitting on the barn roof with the rooster, all crowing!

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