Pioneer Potluck: About words we used and fun sayings!

Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

I grew up with all kinds of fun sayings.

Our Dad had some that I am sure he made up! Grandpa Cogswell had some that will always stick with me. If he was perturbed or could not figure out something, he would take the old pipe out of his mouth and utter, “What the Sam hill?” Grandma’s favorites were “do-dad” and “hand me the whatchama call it!”

And they both said “thingamajig” and point to whatever they needed. “Hand me that gizmo” was for something that Grandpa pointed at, but could not reach.

Bob says, “Pass me the Bacus” for everything from cheese sauce to ketchup — anything that goes over the top of food. It’s a word we say almost every day in our house.

Broccoli became “gawk” when grandson Arleigh was little and he wanted “more gawk.” If there is “gawk” on the table it usually has “bacus” on it.

Bob’s daughter explains “whippers” as windshield wipers, whipped cream as spanking cream. “Count-u-later” is a calculator. “Headruff” was dandruff — makes sense doesn’t it?

Susan and I use hand signals when we cannot find words for what we need. A back-and-forth motion with your hand and arm means “open the door,” not “hand me a saw!” If there was an earthquake, especially when she had the Fireweed Gift Shop full of glass and fragile items, we both hit the front door at the same time, usually muttering loudly, “eeeeaaarrthhqaaake!”

Earthquakes at our house find me up and out the door in a split second and standing in the middle of the yard, screaming, “EARTHQUAKE.” Thirty years ago after a big “rock-and-roller earthquake,” Bob told everyone that I ended up in the middle of the yard with no clothes on. YUP, I did! He told everyone at work, so it was hard to talk to them after that. Now, we both run for the TV set so it does not fall off the counter.

In high school, “See ya later alligator,” and “after while crocodile” were popular. “What now, brown cow?” was a saying that most of the farm kids said.

I loved to say, “See ya soon, baboon.” Some of the less popular sayings were: “Gotta’ go buffalo”; “Adios Hippos”; “Chop chop lollipop”; “Bye-bye butterfly” and “Better shake, rattlesnake.” P.S., My kids, when they were little, pronounced alligator “Gall-e-gay-tor”

Or, for the phone calls we used to get on the old phone hanging on the wall — I would run as fast as I could to answer! The caller would say, “Is your refrigerator running?” I would say, “Yes”

“Well, you better catch it.” And then they would hang up!

I have not touched the surface of the old-time sayings, some of them regional, I am sure.

Our Dad had a name for about everything other than the right name.

Daughter Gail remembers her Grandpa teasing Grandma, when she would ask what he would like for breakfast. His reply was, “two lookin’ at ya, two slabs and a slice with redeye and a cuppa java.”

Translated it meant two eggs sunny side up, two pieces of toast, a slice of ham with red pan gravy and a cup of coffee. Mom would not ask what that was, but set about making him breakfast. Dad would smirk and wait and see what she put on his plate. He had many variations such as, “two hen fruit, a squeal and two bombs and a scoop of glue.” Translated was two eggs, bacon or sausage, two biscuits with gravy on them. Oatmeal was oats, or horse fodder or horse power. He called my dumplings “cannon balls.” Yes, they were!

When I was little I called Mom and Dad “John and Loretta” because everyone else did! Finally, Dad got tired of me addressing them as John and Loretta. He told me HE was “Dad” and, pointing, Mom was “Mom.” I was very confused, until I was corrected every time I said it. I FINALLY caught on!!

Dad called me “cotton top.” Brother John was “Butch or Sonny.” Sister, Ginger was “Squeaky” (I have no idea why — because she has a beautiful name, Virginia Ruth.) Little sister Elaine was “Laney” and little brother James David was Jimmy

Dad had many nicknames for his neighbors and fellow farmers. “Old Vic” and “Chaw-tabbacie Henry” to name a few. My Grandpa and Grandma Cogswell called me “Edith Ann” because Grandma named me. I never liked the name and asked her why she named me Edith Ann.

“Well,” she said, “I could have named you after me — Freda Pauline or Freda Louise.” I settled for Ann and never questioned my name after that.

I was Ann or Annie in high school. Some called me Sam to tease. My close friends still call me Annie-Banannaie. In my “other life,” my friend Howard called me Molly. Dad told me at one time he wished my name was Molly Ann. I like that name! Now I am Grannie Annie to everyone. I like that, and do not mind at all.

Dad loved pranks and usually got one on someone daily! One time he came running into the bedroom and shouted, “Get up and get dressed — hurry quick — the cows are out and I need your help.”

Well, we would do anything for Dad; so we jumped out of bed, scrambling for clothes. John, Ginger and I put our clothes and shoes on as fast as we could, grabbed our coats and out the door we flew. Dad was standing in the yard, with a grin. “April Fools,” he said.

One time he scared Ginger and I so badly we almost killed each other getting through the dining room door about Halloween time. We were fighting over getting the dishes done, because I had a date, and Ginger was not washing dishes fast enough. All of the sudden this ugly thing popped up in the window above the sink and hollered, “Boo!” Like I said, we injured ourselves getting through the dinning room door. Running into the living room we shouted, “There is a monster outside!” Mom hid behind her paper, and told us not to be silly, just as Dad came in the living room door with a rag mop over his head and his teeth out. He was our MONSTER! The laughter was loud, especially from Dad! He told that story for years.

Dad told stories over and over to anyone that would listen — bankers, lawyers CPAs, dentists and doctors. And he would end up laughing louder than they would, because he loved telling a good joke — or pulling one on ya!

Well, those are good memories.

How about your family and nicknames or pranks? It is fun to “re-memory” — as I thought the word “remember” was at one time.


I sort of invented this recipe, using things I like in a cookie. My cookie taster, Bob, loves these!

In a mixer bowl:

2/3 cup butter room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

Cream until fluffy.


1/3 cup concentrated, frozen orange juice. No need to thaw.

1 teaspoon orange zest

Mix well.

In a small bowl, stir to mix:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients slowly to mixer until well incorporated.


1 1/2 cups old fashioned oatmeal

Mix slowly about one minute. Remove mixer and add and stir in by hand:

1 12-ounce package of white chocolate chips

1 cup coconut (optional)

Fold in gently and drop by full tablespoon on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Do not crowd.

Bake at 350 degress for 12 to 15 minutes until just lightly browned and set.

Cool on baking rack. Store about a day to add flavor, if they last that long!


6 squares of semisweet baking chocolate

4 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate

6 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 cup flour — yes just one cup!

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped walnuts

Microwave chocolates and butter in large micro-safe bowl on high for about 1 1/2 minutes until chocolate melts. WATCH carefully! Stir half way through. Then stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add sugar and blend well. Mix eggs and add to mixture.

Add vanilla. Stir to blend.

Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.

Stir in nuts.

Drop by tablespoon full 1 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes — no longer!

Cool and enjoy!


Preheat oven at 325 degrees NOTE THE TEMPERATURE!

You will need an ungreased cookie sheet. Drain a small jar of maraschino cherries and dry on paper towel.

Beat until fluffy:

3 ounces room temperature cream cheese

1/2 cup butter room temp


1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teas salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix well.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and stir until well mixed. DOUGH WILL BE STICKY.

Flour hands and press a well-drained maraschino cherry into a walnut-sized ball of dough.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

As soon as you remove cookies from the oven, drop them in a bowl of powdered sugar.

Cool on rack and drop in powdered sugar again.


• By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

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