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Rite of passage: Yada Hoodies

I don’t remember how or when or even where we were when my wife and I started labeling all three grandsons collectively as the “yada hoodies.” Many times when they come walking up to our door, they are goofing around like the Keystone Cops, so calling them “yada hoodies” seemed appropriate to us.

Rite of passage: Yada Hoodies - Baptist Messenger of OklahomaMy wife got a text from my daughter-in-love one morning, saying she and the three grandsons were coming over. I was in the other room when my wife yelled, “Walker, the yada hoodies are on their way,” and a smile crossed my face, because I love nothing more than hanging out with those little guys.

I heard this term for the first time from my father-in-law; I am not sure in what context he used it. He was a big, rugged man with hands the size of a ham, but his heart was even bigger.

He and I used to do bus ministry each Saturday and Sunday. We would visit the children and their parents on Saturday to remind them what time we were going to pick them up. On Sunday morning, he would drive the old rickety yellow bus into a lower-income housing complex, and the children would come running out to meet us.

As he opened the bus door, a smile would spread across his face, and his eyes would get moist as he greeted each child by name. His heart was moved by the things and people God loved.

My father-in-law was also a master of using or making up expressions that I didn’t grow up with. I have often heard him say, “Well, I have been hornswoggled,” which meant he was caught by surprise. We heard him say, “Dad bob it” when something was going wrong. “Well, shoot fire and save matches,” he would often say when he couldn’t come up with another expression.

He owned a feed store where farmers bought sacks of feed for their livestock. After loading trucks all day, he would come home announcing, “Oh, my G.I. back.”  I don’t think that he had a “government issued” back, but when it got sore, he blamed it on the government.

On the other side of the house was my wife’s mother, who was of Norwegian descent. She would use the Norwegian phrase “Uff Da!” which is equivalent to the Jewish expression, “Oy Veh!” Between the “Dad bob its” and the “Uff Das,” it wasn’t much of a stretch for us to start calling our grandchildren “yada hoodies.” I bet your family has some words or phrases unique to your family.

My family wasn’t much different. My dad put an “er” on everything, and he influenced me. When those “Tieyoter” commercials come on television, my wife reminds me that “Toyota” is the real pronunciation.

I grew up in Missouri, but the state above us was “Iower,” and its capital was Des Moines. My dad always dreamed of visiting the tropical state of “Hawaiier.” All in all, it’s a miracle I can speak somewhat proper English.

Do you know there are lots of sayings we use today that are from the Bible? Have you ever heard someone say they were “at their wits’ end”? I think my mom used it when referring to my brothers and me. But it comes from Psalm 107: 27, “They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.”

Have you ever said something was like “The blind leading the blind?” I know I have. This phrase comes from the book of Matthew. “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit” (Matt. 15:14).

If someone has just passed a test, they might report that they passed it by the skin of their teeth. I am not sure who thought that teeth had skin, but the expression means they escaped by the narrowest of margins. It comes from the book of Job, where after a series of trials, Job eventually escaped “by the skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20b).

I love the study of the origins of words. When I was in England, I took a one-day etymology class. The word “etymology” came from the Greek word etumos, which means “true” and ology, which mean “to study.” So etymology is the study of words’ true meanings.

When you study the Bible, make sure to “go the extra mile.” “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt. 5:41). That means you’ll not only learn the meaning behind the words but also get to know the true One who stands behind them. That’s what I pray every day for the “yada hoodies,” too.

Walker Moore

Author: Walker Moore

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