By Paula Mitchell
Where does the phrase “Cut the Mustard” come from? The origin isn’t so clear-cut.
To cut the mustard is to reach the desired performance or more generally to succeed and have the ability to do something. So often, the phrase is used in a negative connotation for when something doesn’t live up to expectations or can’t do the job.
This phrase appears to be an American original. Evidence for the phrase “cut the mustard” can be found in 1891-1892 in a Galveston, Texas, newspaper. The author, O. Henry, looked around and found a proposition that exactly cut the mustard in his 1907 collection of short stories.
The word “mustard” itself goes back to the Latin “mustum” (English “must”). It was the juice squeezed from grapes before it was made into wine. “Mustard” is so named because the condiment was originally made by making mustard seeds into a paste with “must.”
Clues can be found in earlier “mustard” expressions. “Mustard” adds spice or zest (slather some English mustard like Colemans on a frankfurter and one will soon feel the heat). That’s why as early as the 1600s, keen as a mustard was a figure of speech for something extremely powerful or enthusiastic.
In the early 20th century, people went around calling each other “mustard.” “He’s mustard,” for example, meaning “He’s great.” It’s this idea that seems to be at work in “cut the mustard!”
It’s life’s little instructions that keep one going:
- Don’t overlook life’s small joys while searching for the big ones.
- When lost or in distress, signal in “threes” — three shouts, three gunshots, or three horn blasts.
- There are people who will always come up with reasons why one can’t do what a person wants to do. Ignore them.
- When a person has the choice of two exciting things, choose the one a person hasn’t tried.
- Life will sometimes hand one a magical moment. Savor it.
The Sugar Grove community has been enjoying the many showers. The soil continues to absorb this moisture, furnishing the life sustaining elements needed for gardens, fields and landscapes. Farmers are beginning to do second cutting of hay. Humidity continues to hug everything in its path. Still, the river is being lazy in its quest to the sea.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” — Mahatma Gandhi
“The stars don’t look bigger, but they do look brighter.” — Sally Ride
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” — May Angelou
“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius
“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on — it is going on when you don’t have strength.” — Napolean Bonaparte
Sitting inside, with the air conditioning on, is the best place to hear the “Talk of The Grove.”
Wesley, Becky, Ben, Emma, and Nathaniel Puffenbarger motored to Morgantown and Clarksburg.
Willard and Judy Rader visited Friday in the home of Benny and Linda Custer. They all enjoyed a delicious luncheon at Mrs. Rowe’s in Staunton, Virginia.
This week’s clickety-clacks for the chin waggers are as follows:
- The Chinese limit their kids to three hours of online gaming and I phone usage from 8 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with no more than 40 minutes at a time.
- The average person loses from 50 to100 strands of hair a day.
- There are 31 tunnels in West Virginia.
- Elk were absent in West Virginia for 140 years.
- The Earl of Sandwich, a noted gambler, invented the sandwich so he could eat while gaming.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Charles Anderson, the Lloyd Bowers family, Bill Brackman, Scherry Chambers, Charlotte Copley, the Thelma Cooper family, Jeff Craig, the Cindy DiFalco family, Jeff Evick, Lee Roy and Ina Evick, the Herb Eye family, Mary Eye, Ron Gilkeson, Barry Gordon, Lola Graham, Marlene Harman, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Starr Hedrick, George Hevener, Gary and Jackie Hills, Rose Hinkle, Virgil Homan, Jr., Charlie Marie Hoover, Lorena Hoover, Myrtle Hoover, Enos Horst, Bob Hurry, Alice Johnson, Richard Judy, Melissa Lambert, Robin and Kitty Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Roger and Skip Mallow, Yvonne Marsh, Neil McLaughlin, Naomi Michael, the Garry E. Mitchell family, Joe Moats, Lincoln Moore, Ernie Morgan, Aaron Nelson, Kathy Nelson, Ken and Ruth Nelson, Bennie Nesselrodt, Cheryl Paine, Sutton Parrack, Alda Propst, Betty Lou Propst, Kara Propst, Kathy Propst, Linda Propst, Sheldon Propst, Pam Rexrode, Donna Ruddle, Bernie Sasscer, Barbara Simmons, Emily Simmons, Erin Simmons, Eva Simmons, Charlie Sites, Diana Smith, Ona Smith, Stanna Smith, Patricia Swecker, Rosa Tichenor, Sandra Vandevander, Jack Vogel, Judy Waggy, Ron White, Judy Williams, Larry Wimer and Carol Windett.