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Monday, May 3, 2010

Taking the rag off the bush

Here's another saying to add to my list.

Whenever Ellen is throwing one of her down-in-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming fits, hubby says; "She's really taking the rag off the bush."

OK

You tell me what that's supposed to mean.

I guess it's just an old Ozarks saying that made sense a hundred years ago.

8 comments:

thelumberjackswife said...

Not a clue!

Frau Guten Tag said...

LOL, I really would like to know what it means &/or how it originated.......

~Tonia said...

Hmmmm I have No idea... The only thing I can think is maybe from spreading laundry out over the bushes and it came from that some how.... Who knows!Lol

Anonymous said...

A google on "taking the rag off the bush" will suprise you. It traces back to the "old country" Seems it's a well used term.

Frau Guten Tag said...

http://www.word-detective.com/2010/03/04/rag-off-the-bush-to-take-the/

insideoutput said...

From Beatle Links Forum:

"Take the rag off the bush" - now there's an expression with a convoluted history. Most local communities claim that one as their very own, and use it in varying ways to indicate achievement(?), excitement, surprise, and sometimes just disgust - in short, nearly all folks use it as an interjection with no clear understanding of it's original meaning.

The Rag Bush, in Kilkenny, Ireland, is an old bush, supposed to have lived for hundreds of years next to a stone where St. Patrick once stopped to pray. Apparently something of import happened either to St. Patrick or to the local community at that juncture, because the spot became a holy spot over the centuries, including not only the bush itself, but also the well and the stone said to preserve the imprints of St. Paddy's knees and thumb.

The transference of virtue from a holy person to an inanimate object dates back at least 2 millenia - even the Bible has a passage where one man was healed when the shadow of St. Peter passed over him (Acts 5:15). Just as the woman achieved healing for herself by touching the hem of Christ's clothing, Christian's have long believed in touching the artifacts associated with a saint for "good luck" if for no other reason.

Now, the significance of the rag bush, the well and the stone come into clearer focus. Obviously, the locals and the wayfarers viewed this holy spot as one which would impart the blessings of St. Patrick upon them.

Touching the imprints of his knees and his thumb would bring one as close to God as St. Patrick became in prayer. Drinking from the well would bring the blessings of Christ upon them, having been prayed over by St. Patrick. And leaving a "rag" or scrap of one's garment upon the bush would keep that person in St. Patrick's prayer, and thereby bring his intentions to God more fervently than one's own oftentimes lacklustre or hastily uttered prayers.

Early immigrants to America would leave scraps on the bush believing they would ensure the immigrants return to the Emerald Isle - probably because that's what their prayer was. Others sought the blessings of Christ upon their voyage, or their relocation. By leaving their own clothing upon the bush, they were asking Christ to impart to them such blessings as He would. Just as his garments transferred His virtue to the woman, then logic dictated that any blessings He bestowed upon the garments on the bush would transfer back to the owner of the garment.

When the rag disintegrated through time, it seemed to indicate the fullness of the blessing had taken place - and the removal of the garment from the bush would mean that one's prayers had been answered.

So, back to current usage of the phrase, and it's likely meaning in view of the Rag Bush.

Taking the rag off the bush before one's prayer was answered would indicate disbelief or impatience with the slowness of any forthcoming answer. Taking it off while still intact was done when one's prayers had been answered in short order, and therefore deemed miraculous. A garment falling off the bush would indicate that the person hadn't been sincere in his request, and the fallen rag symbolized the rejection of the request. A rag that disintegrated over time on the bush would indicate someone who either remained in prayer until the end, or one whose prayer was answered slowly over time. And rags which disappeared prematurely from the bush were presumed taken straight to Heaven for a closer contact with God.

C said...

That is sooooooooooooo funny! I was *just* about to write a blog post about all of my hubby's "hubby-isms"! I think the fact that I come from the city and he comes from the country and has all these expressions that don't make sense to me is largely what leaves me clueless 99.9% of the time.

Anonymous said...

It was one of my momma's sayings to us kids growing up. But it's meaning was that we were acting up, throwing a fit or having a falling in the floor tantrum. She would say "you sure are taking the rag off the bush".