Free Went to the Electric Chair – Top Ten Dad Quotes


Good sayings say everything you need to know succinctly.  I heard one recently that makes me laugh every time I think of it:  “Don’t marry for money, you can borrow it cheaper!”  We play a game where I work and the residents finish the second half of a saying.  “There’s no fool…like an old fool.”  “A stitch in time…saves nine.”  I’m sure that children today couldn’t play the game.  These old sayings are no longer a part of everyday life.

Throughout my Dad’s days, he always had a perfect quote for every occasion.  Daddy was old-school.  Like the people where I work, he lived in the days when “early to bed, early to rise” was actually said out loud and often.  People don’t talk like that anymore and I’m afraid that colorful speech has become a whole different animal in the 21st century.

isolated sitting multicolored cat on white - illustration

I hope that you will enjoy these quotes.  They always bring a smile to my face.  I’m afraid I’ve forgotten more than I remember.  If we don’t write them down, they will be forgotten from disuse.  If you remember any others that your parents may have used, write a reply!

1.  FREE WENT TO THE ELECTRIC CHAIR – Everything came with a price.  Any advertisement that claimed that any thing was free, came with a shake of Dad’s head.  Pity the poor door-to-door salesman who knocked on our door with a “free” gift for the lady of the house.  In Daddy’s mind, there was no such thing as free.  Free had died – thus “Free went to the electric chair” was one of his favorites.  There was no such thing as “free” in his day and age and there isn’t much free in ours either.


2.  I’D STRETCH A MILE IF I DIDN’T HAVE TO WALK BACK – I can still picture Dad saying this after a nap on the sofa.  Dad would stand up, stretch and punctuate the action with this quote.  Have you ever heard this one before or did he make it up?  I truly don’t know.


3.  MONEY DOESN’T GROW ON TREES – Oh if this were true! Whenever we asked Dad for money he’d say this or something equivalent to it, “What do you think, I have a money tree out back?”  I wondered why we didn’t plant one!  Mom and Dad were frugal.  They knew how to make a dollar stand at attention and stretch!  But they grew up in the days of the depression so they remembered doing without.  Mom used to recount a time when she was a little girl that she would find a nickel and go to the store and come home with a lunch-sized paper bag full of candy that she would hide under her bed.


4.  I BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD AND I CAN TAKE YOU OUT – This was actually more a Mom saying than a Dad.  She was always hurling threats at us, especially if we had the audacity to answer back.  I may have been the worst in the family with having the last word.  It took me years to learn to just shut up!  When I was pregnant for my son, the doctor had a picture in his office that was a cross-stitched pattern.  Underneath the picture was stitched “QUIET WOMAN” and the picture itself was of a chubby woman, standing in a full length dress with a white apron, holding her head under her arm.

5.  IF YOU LAY DOWN WITH DOGS, YOU’LL WAKE UP WITH FLEAS – This was his advice on how to choose friends.  It’s such a hard process – choosing your friends.  No matter how hard you try not to, you will always pick up the worst habits of others rather than their good habits.  It’s really a fact of life.  So be careful who you choose as a friend.


6.  IF YOU STAND SIDEWAYS I’LL MARK YOU ABSENT – Since I’ve been on a perpetual diet most of my life, I heard this one from him often – always just after a week or two of dieting.  Another one he would say is:  If you stand sideways and stick your tongue out, you’ll look like a zipper!  I eventually learned that it was pointless to ask Daddy if my current diet was working because he would never give me a straight answer about it.  Maybe he knew that I really wanted to hear that it was working.

7.  YOU MAKE YOUR BED AND THEN YOU HAVE TO LAY IN IT – Literally this is true.  The way you make your own bed is important because at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to lay down in it.  And the way you walk through life, the mistakes that you make, are the ones with which you live.  (I am thankful every day for forgiveness – aren’t you?)

making bed

8.  BEAUTY MAY BE SKIN DEEP BUT UGLY GOES RIGHT TO THE BONE – Beautiful isn’t everything in a daughter.  Yes, we were supposed to do the best we could with what God gave us, but that had a lot more to do with who we are as a person.  Your outside always reflects what’s inside eventually.  So be beautiful in your heart first.


9.  WHILE THE CAT’S AWAY THE MICE WILL PLAY –  No consequences if the cat’s away, right?  I think not!  It seemed like Mom and Dad had eyes in the back of their heads.  We may have done things wrong when we were not in their sight, but we never really got away with it.  I remember my sister Debbie telling me about how she had skipped school with her boyfriend and went to a mall downtown.  As she walked past Uncle Freddie’s shop, he said, “Deb-or-ah! Are you on a field trip?”  Maybe the reason Mom and Dad knew everything about us is because they had such a big family found everywhere!

10.  I’M SELDOM RIGHT AND I’M WRONG AGAIN – Whenever he and Mom had a discussion about anything that was a strongly held belief in Mom’s opinion, Dad would resign himself to her opinion.  He would have made a great politician – but this only worked with Mom.  Anyone else – Beware!


Dad was very wise.  He lived in a day when wisdom was important.  If we fail to remember the past we are doomed to repeat mistakes so learn a lesson!

4 thoughts on “Free Went to the Electric Chair – Top Ten Dad Quotes

  1. I love these sayings! Remember this one – it is better to be thought stupid, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (something like that)

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