I say phrases all the time that I have no idea from whence they came. (I wanted so much to say “where they come from,” but I know that a preposition is not something you should end a sentence “with.”)  I say things like “I was scared as all get-out.” “All-get-out” seems to be a Southern phrase used to indicate a high degree of something, as in “He was mad as all get-out.”

Apparently, the first appearance of “all get-out” was in Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” but its origin seems to be unknown. It must be connected somehow with “get out” or “leave.” As a minister, after church last Sunday, I was “tired as all-get out.”

I also don’t know the origin of the phrase, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd.” Though I do not know the exact origin of it, I do know who first said it. It was first said by a dad who attempted to go shopping for clothes with his wife and then 10-year-old daughter. I also know it was first uttered about 15 minutes into that shopping spree/disaster.

What was I thinking? What I was thinking was that it would be cool to show my support for my daughter by participating in the buying of clothes for her. When our son was growing up clothes were not a really big deal. He wore jeans or khakis, t-shirts, golf shirts, etc, but I had no desire to help him pick out his clothes. He didn’t need or want my help. When I bought him clothes for Christmas he would promptly return them for the post-Christmas sale.

I don’t know what possessed me then to think that with our daughter it would be any different. Having a little girl, (oops, young lady), is different. I actually would enjoy picking out cute clothes for her to wear. I think I have a pretty good idea of what would look good on her. So, I mistakenly thought that my ideas and my presence would be welcomed on a shopping spree.

I have been wrong about a lot of things in my life, but I have never been so wrong about anything. About fifteen minutes into this experiment, I realized the shopping spree test tube had the wrong mix. The phrase: “Two’s company, three’s a crowd,” came to mind. I was the “three.”

I innocently made a couple of suggestions of clothes that I thought were cute, and Natalie and Sheri looked at me like I was Dennis Rodman’s fashion designer. I promptly walked away and made no other suggestions. I will make other mistakes in my life as a parent, but I will not make that one again.

Showing love to our kids is easy. We go to their ballgames, music concerts, art exhibits, and church events and we cheer for them, we applaud them, we hug and affirm them. At times, however, the best way to show our love for them is by recognizing when it is time to stay out of their business. I don’t like being the “three” on a shopping spree, but I was.

King Solomon had 700 wives and I am guessing lots of kids. He had all the money in the world and certainly took some of his 10-year-olds to the Jerusalem Shopping Center. And thus he coined these timely words: “Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight” (Proverbs 4: 7). I got “insight” the hard way.

By the way, I wanted to say to Natalie, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” since I am that “gift horse.” But that is another phrase for another day.

~Pastor Steve

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