Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THIS CONTINUES SHARING MY favorite New England expressions and phrases, as compiled by Charles Fry Haywood in his Yankee Dictionary.

Image from

Parson’s Nose. Haywood is both succinct and technical on this one: “Alias ‘the part that went over the fence last,’ a protuberance on the stern of a fowl or turkey…. Technically, the ‘parson’s nose’ is composed of the pygostyle, which is the last of the vertebra of the backbone, and the elaeodochon or rump gland, which contains oil [which the fowl uses for preening feathers].”

Aka, in other circles, the Pope’s Nose.  

Potato Bargain. “A dish well known to old Cape Codders,” Haywood says. “Fry out 3 slices of fat salt pork in an iron spider, remove the pork and when the fat is cool, add 7 potatoes, peeled, halved and sliced, and 4 medium sized onions, peeled, sliced and cooked separately, salt and pepper to taste.”

An antique spider. Image from

Haywood continues, “Cover with water to within 3/4 inch from the top of spider, bring to boiling point and cook until potatoes are done. When the water is partly boiled away, place whole slices of bread on top, put on a cover and steam them along with the potatoes and onions for 15 minutes. Then serve to folks who really need calories, and if you cannot lick the high cost of living with this one, you never will.”  

Ride and Tie. “The method,” Haywood describes, “by which two men used one horse to reach a destination. The first man started off on horseback, rode a mile or so and tied the animal to a tree and then walked on. The second man, who set out on foot, untied the horse when he reached it, rode on past his companion and at the end of his mile tied up the steed and walked on. So the process went for whatever length their journey was.” 

Sand Shaker. “At tall as a salt shaker,” Haywood says, “of greater diameter, usually made of wood and with a perforated top concave or ‘dished’ so as to form a shallow saucer.”

Sand shaker image from

“Before the days of good and plentiful blotters,” Haywood describes, “people shook fine sand on the ink to dry it. Then carefully the writer tilted the paper, poured the sand into the saucered top and shook the receptacle until the sand dropped back into the holes of the shaker. Thus they used the sand over and over again, for good ink sand was hard to come by.” 

Indeed, in a recent Turner Classic Movies broadcast of the restoration adventure The King’s Thief, 1955, one of the cavaliers uses what looks like a sand shaker in preparing a message.  

Stivver. It means “To get moving,” Haywood says. “A mother would say to her boy, ‘Now stivver along to the store and don’t be all day about it.”

Thanks, Mr. Haywood. I believe I’ll just stivveh outta heah. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022

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