Ruffled feathers

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An experience I encountered a couple of weeks ago still surfaces to my mind and I find myself wanting to write about it.

Thinking back over what happened, an entire list of old-fashioned sayings came to my mind. You know, the kind your mother or grandmother used to say. Now days, it seems people tend to use vulgar language out in public instead of those archaic, mild-mannered phrases.

Myself, I’d much rather say and hear more genteel versions than the rubbish that comes out of people’s mouths now.  I much prefer to be in the company of Downton Abbey’s Countess Dowager who said, “Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”

But I digress because the instance that’s on my mind did not include vulgarity of language, but instead perhaps rudeness of character.

When I was young and someone invoked my temper or said something that offended me, my mother used to admonish me with this old saying, “Don’t get your feathers ruffled.”

Today, we’d probably say, “Don’t get your shorts in a knot.” Or maybe, “Put on your big girl panties.”

Well, I encountered someone whose feathers definitely got ruffled.  By me. By an innocent comment I made which invoked a rant causing me to not be able to get a word in edgeways even if I had wanted to.

Papa and I traveled out of state to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and baby granddaughter for Mother’s Day weekend. We had a lovely time spoiling baby girl, conversing with family, and witnessing a sweet baby dedication at church for our little one.

One of our excursions included attending a vendor/craft show at a nearby shopping center on a leisurely Saturday afternoon.  As we strolled along, eyeing up the wares for sale, we stopped at one kiosk to take a closer look. Everything was hunky-dory at first.

The gift items for sale were hand-made and very nice.  A few had sports themes and as I pointed to one cute baseball-themed gift, which was decked out with logos of only one particular MLB (Major League Baseball) team, I casually and quietly remarked to my daughter-in-law, “That’s really cute even though I wouldn’t buy it because I don’t root for that team.”

Well… batten down the hatches!  (There’s one of those old sayings meaning prepare for trouble.) My comment apparently went over like a lead balloon (another one of my mom’s old sayings) with the vendor.

Her head came up and her eyes made a bee line for mine.  It was more than obvious that my comment got her goat and definitely got her dander up.  She definitely wasn’t as happy as a clam!

My son tried to explain my comment by saying, “Oh, they’re from… (and named our nearby city).”

And heavens to Betsy, instead of diffusing the situation, that just really put her nose out of joint. Added fuel to her fire.

Between you, me, and the bedpost, she obviously had a bee in her bonnet, and she was going to let it out to sting us. We endured an outburst about how much she hated our city’s NFL football team. I mean HATED. Hated our team’s quarterback. On and on it went.

She beat that horse until it was as dead as a doornail.

And all I could do as her tirade continued, even while my daughter-in-law was purchasing an item from her, was stand there like the cat had got my tongue. I was speechless at her animosity towards a potential customer.

Okay, in perspective, it’s only sports but I had not insulted her favorite team. For crying out loud though, she certainly didn’t keep it under her hat how she disrespected ours, and in turn denigrated where we were from. Her sour grapes left a bad taste in my mouth.   

As we quickly moved on to the next vendor, I couldn’t help but think that she really had cut off her nose to spite her face because I would have continued to check out her wares and may have even bought something if she hadn’t let the cat out of the bag.

I’m not sure if she was trying to take me down a peg or two or just couldn’t get off her high horse.  But her reaction and her rant caused me to hope that her chickens would come home to roost (her rude interaction would come back to bother her).

She did ruffle my feathers a bit and I felt like I escaped from her wrath by the skin of my teeth. Part of me wanted to tell her she was too big for her britches and another part of me wanted to throw a couple of other old phrases at her: “Heavens to Murgatroyd, lady. Don’t have a cow!

It would have been easy as pie to retort back in a rude manner, but instead we all chose to hold our horses, like it or lump it (endure it willingly), and just move on.

Maybe I should have left her with one parting comment, one that my mother always said to me when I was out of sorts – “You’ll be better before you’re married.”

But then again, I think she was already married. And I think I pity her husband because he better go whole hog and root for the same sports teams as her or he might be up the creek without a paddle

“If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” ~ another old saying attributed to Aesop





16 responses

      • Hello Mama! Checking in with you after quite some time. “Retired now with 5 grandkids and counting! Two new ones born last month…fully blessed by God for sure. My time is now divided between my dear hubby, helping to watch 3 of my grand babies and spending time with my mother who lives around the corner. Dad went to be with the Lord just about a year ago. Life has once again taken a new direction and daily adjustments are necessary prayers each day. Looking forward to getting reacquainted with someone (you) who made me laugh and think and embrace “getting on in my years”.
        Warmly, alison.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alison, oh my goodness, it’s SO good to hear from you! Have wondered often how and what you were doing. Five grands, how wonderful! Sounds like you have a full and blessed life. Please keep in touch! Hugs to you. Be blessed!


  1. I’m so sorry you had to endure that!
    I loved the way you incorporated these sayings into your post- it was very clever and it made me smile! I still use a lot of those sayings. 😊


  2. Just like the previous comments, you brought a big smile and chuckle to my day. It was enjoyed so much that I shared it with the ladies in the Crafters for Christ group that was held at church today. They just hee-hawed the entire time it was being read. It reminded me of when I was working and would use some of the older phrases; the students would give a sly grin and say that I said the funniest things. Thanks for your step back in time when things were more polite and given with humor.


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