Between a bark and a hard place

So good to be home, to untie my shoes, and sit down at the computer. My "dogs were barking," and so I was wondering if I first heard that expression when Ann Richards was the governor of Texas. No, it was a few years earlier. John Candy and Steve Martin were on an airplane in the 1987 movie "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles".

Ann Richards used the expression, "That dog won't hunt" in her keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1988. That dog adds to my confusion, and I wonder about Ann and Candy sitting together on an airplane in heavenly skies with their shoes off.

After posting some photos of butterflies slurping up oozy sap on my other blog and on Facebook, a knowledgeable conversation about tree bark broke out. I've been reading Gen and Claudia's blogs for so long I feel like they are old friends. Now they are discussing my tree bark photo. What a wonderful, strange world this is! Were the butterflies sap-slurping on a persimmon tree or a hackberry?

Tone-deaf and tree bark-challenged, alas, I retreat deeper into my rain jacket. It's a thrill to proclaim the end of summer and true beginning of autumn in north Texas even if I'm not sure which tree to bark up and whether to end the sentence there or elsewhere.

barking up the wrong tree bark (v.) Look up bark at Dictionary.com

in reference to a dog sound, Old English beorcan "to bark," from Proto-Germanic *berkanan (cf. Old Norse berkja "to bark"), of echoic origin. Related: Barkedbarking. To bark up the wrong tree is U.S. colloquial, first attested 1832, from notion of hounds following the wrong scent.

I love how the meanings play tennis across the net between dog and tree barks, and even boats and planes! And just what would be an "echoic origin"?  

HELLO!               hello!

To disembark (v.), 1580s, from Middle French desembarquer, does not mean to fall down into Rowlett Creek while taking photos of oozing sap bark. That would really bite, and would be worse than bark.

This confusion harkens back to the days when I had a sister-in-law with a gift for mangling idioms. On dark days I remember Doris fondly for her expression, "Every hat has a silver lining."

Boom diddy-ah da, boom boom! The mighty moose wanders at will, trampling on my tiny brain cells. 

Land of the Silver Birch, Home of the Beaver  

Land of the silver birch
Home of the beaver
Where still the mighty moose
Wanders at will
Blue lake and rocky shore
I will return once more
Boom-diddy-ah-da, Boom-diddy-ah-da, Boom-diddy-ah-da, bo-oo-oom

© 2013 Nancy L. Ruder


seana graham said...

Nancy you may be interested in a discussion of the phrase on Phrasefinder, though I hope the way the ads cover up small portions of the text won't annoy you as much as it does me. It's a good resource, otherwise.

Kathleen said...

You made me hark!

Kim said...


Collagemama said...

Thanks for commenting ladies!