Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fair to Middlin'

Whenever someone asks “How are you” I say “Fair to middlin’” . I had heard it all my life, but I never took the time to think about what it meant. I always figured that it just meant that I am so-so. That is as good as I ever admit to being, because if I start saying great, before the day is over, I am sure something will happen to change that categorization. And anyway, nobody really wants to know how you are doing if they ask you. They really are just saying hello.

Since I have lived in Texas a lot of people thought I was saying “Fair to Midland”, as in Midland, Texas. So, I guess by this definition, I am fair all the way to Midland, Texas, like the weather. So, that is plausible to me. But again, I never put much brain power into the analysis. Certainly not enough to argue with anyone about whether I was saying middlin’ or Midland. It didn’t really matter to me.

One day, while working at Walgreen’s, a customer approached me and said he overheard me telling someone that I was fair to middlin’. He chuckled and said that he hadn’t heard that in a long time. (Probably since Bully was a calf—Bully is the hamburger meat in the freezer; it’s been a long time since he was a calf.)

He asked if I knew what it meant exactly. I chuckled and said “No.”

He laughed and said that most people didn’t know. He said that he wanted to share the story with me. He said back in the days of the covered wagons, and cotton picking by hand, people would fill up their wagons with the cotton and take it to South Texas to the ports to market. There was a man on duty who would grade the quality of the cotton, and the farmer would be paid based on the grade. There were two grades: fair and middlin’. Fair got the better price. Cotton that was middlin’ would also be bought, but would be cheaper than the cotton that was fair.

All cotton was graded from fair to middlin’. That is where the saying comes from. So, it is actually not Midland, but middlin’.

I smiled and thanked him for sharing the story, and told him that I had never heard it before. He smiled and said that most people hadn’t, so he wanted to share it with me.

So, there you have it folks. It is all about cotton. I still use the phrase anyway because I still am afraid to jinx the day by saying that I am any better than fair to middlin’.

Here is hoping that your day is better than fair or middlin’.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I am thankful for:

311. Missionaries
312. Holy Communion two times over.
313. Cotton
314. Blue Jeans

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

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