Thursday, July 9, 2009

Watch out for high water?

My friend Bonnie reminded me of a saying that parents and grandparents used to use all the time: “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” For those who have never heard it, it is an expression that means ‘if nothing comes up’.

Q. “Do you think our team will win?”

A. “God willing and the creek don’t rise we will!”

I’d like to share with you an attribution for this expression in the style of the late Paul Harvey’s “The rest of the story”:

Benjamin Hawkins was a government employee. One day he received an invitation. This was not just any invitation, it was a special one. Benjamin sent his reply saying that he would be there “God willing and the Creek don’t rise”. Now Mr. Hawkins lived from 1754 to 1816, so it makes sense to suppose that his reply referred to the creeks and streams that had to be forded.

But in Benjamin’s reply, he capitalized the ‘C” in Creek. This wasn’t a misspelling. You see, the invitation Benjamin received was from the President of the United States, asking him to come to Washington for meetings.

Benjamin was a government employee, but specifically he was an Indian Agent. And more specifically, he was the Indian Agent to the Creek Nation.

His reply didn’t refer to swollen waterways at all…but to the possibility of an uprising by the Creek Indians.

“God willing and the Creek don’t rise”. Paul Harvey's tagline would fit great here!

It should be noted that some other sources attribute the origin of the expression to exactly what it implies, flooded waterways.

(NOTE: The late Paul Harvey was one of the great newsmen and commentators. He had a feature called “The rest of the story”. It was about a five minute radio spot during which he’d tell a story, conclude with a surprise ending, and finish with his tagline “and now you know…the rest of the story”. )

“In times like these, it helps to recall there have always been times like these.” – Paul Harvey

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I also loved Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story." Great blog, by the way!