My dad had a lot of Dad-isms. Among them was a phrase that was used to describe a poor person or family. Lets say John Doe was poor, He'd say " John next door, he ain't got a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of!" The window part I think he may have added. but the phrase came about from back in the day when urine was used to tan animal hide, so the whole family would urinate in a pot and make the daily trip to the tannery to sell it. If you had to do this to survive, you were “piss poor.”  Now, even worse than that were the really poor families who couldn’t afford to buy said pot. They were the ones that “didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were considered the poorest of the poor!

Betchya didn't know this:
Most couples got married in June for a reason. It wasn't because the weather was warm and you could party it up outside without freezing, it actually was because people back then took a bath once a year, usually in May, which meant they most likley still smelled ok by June.

On a related note, Why do brides carry a bouquet of flowers? Well, since they were starting to stink,  the bouquet of flowers would hide the body odor. Hence today's custom of carrying that bouquet when you're tying the knot.
Why bathe so little? Well... you have to fill a huge tub with hot water! The man of the house was the privileged one of the nice clean water, he went in 1st,  then all the sons and other males, then the women, and finally the children. Last of all the babies!! By the time everyone had been bathed, the water was so dirty it was opaque. if you dunked a baby's head under you couldn't see the baby! Enter the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Check this out:

Houses where made with thatched roofs that they stacked really high with thick straw. there was no wood underneath to hold it up. it was warm tho and animals knew it. So cats and smaller dogs, other small animals lived in the brush on roof. When it rained, it was wicked slippery. At times the animals would slip and fall off the roof. That's where we got: “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

These issues are where canopy beds came from! Without wood holding the piled straw up on the roof where it belongs, stuff would just literally fall through the roof. Bugs and other unmentionables would fall and foul up your "clean" bed. So, you make tall posts for your bed and sling a sheet over it for some umbrella of protection.

The floors were made of straight dirt.  So if you were poor you were, “dirt floor poor.” Wealthy people of course had a floor covering of some sort. Usually slate floors, that would be slippery in the winter or when wet, so they spread straw, also known as thresh, on the floor to help them NOT slide all over the place. As winter continued on, they would just keep adding thresh until there was so much of it that when the door was opened, it would all start flying out the door. So, you'd take a hunk of wood and push the thresh back out of the doorway, creating a blockade. So you wouldn't loose your thresh out the door. Now you know where the term "Thresh Hold" came from!

More to come in Part 2 tomorrow! I'm just tired of typing and this is too long already! :-)



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