Not Just for Kids
Vol. 9, No. 14
April 5-11, 2001
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“He’s dressed to kill, but can’t hold a candle to you.

You’re the salt of the earth.”

“Yeah, he’s just a flash in the pan — but cool as a cucumber.”

What on earth are they talking about? It may sound like another language to you, but these are common idioms. An idiom is a group of words whose meaning has evolved over the years from what it first meant. Here's how it works:

Can't hold a candle to you.

This expression goes back to Shakespeare's time, before there was any such thing as street lighting. In those days, a person returning home from a tavern or theater would be accompanied by a linkboy who carried a torch or a candle. These linkboys were considered very inferior beings, so to say that Tom couldn't hold a candle to Harry meant that Tom was very much inferior to Harry.

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

This was one of President Harry S Truman's favorite sayings. In other words, if you can't take the pressures that go with positions of authority, you're better off not seeking such positions.

Good Night, Sleep Tight.

A good night greeting. In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were tied onto the bed frame by ropes. When the ropes were pulled the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on.

Can't see the forest for the trees.

When you concentrate hard on details, it's hard to see the whole picture.

Calling Young Green Thumbs

Get down and dirty!
Dig into some compost, and learn what makes a great garden. You’ll make a dish garden filled with flower, a pond and garden friends. And you’ll eat some dirt with nice gummy worms
10-noon at Historic Annapolis
Foundation’s Wm. Paca Garden, 186 Prince Geo. St., Annapolis. $5. rsvp: 410/267-7619.

The Match Game: Test Your Brain

Match the idioms in box #1 to their true meanings in box #2

Good Luck

Close, but no cigar

You’re the salt of the earth?

Same old seven and six

Six of one; half dozen of the other

You’re skating on thin ice

A watched pot never boils

A flash in the pan

A drop in the bucket

Still wet behind the ears

Whole nine yards

Keep your shirt on

That’s neither here nor there
Absolutely everything

Don’t wait for something to happen

Some bad luck

Be patient

Almost but not quite

Still young and learning

You’re the best

It’s the same thing

It doesn’t matter

Impressive but not the real thing

Watch it or you’ll be in trouble

That’s just a small part of it all

Super Easter Eggs

Hunt for spectacularly decorated eggs. Monday, April 16 at 11am Hallowing Point Park,
Prince Frederick. Free; rsvp: 410/586-1101

Kids' Calendar

Arbor Day 1-Mile Fun Run
Sat. April 7 (9am)–Run for Mother Earth. Meet Smokey the Bear. Get your race T-shirt. Ages 5-17. $9 race day before 8:45; early discounts. Kings Landing, Huntingtown: 410/586-1101. Activity 430883A

Walk the Rails
Sat. April 7 (9am)–Travel back through time when steam engines brought lots of visitors to the Chesapeake Bay. Hike along a few miles of the old Chesapeake Beach Railway and imagine what life was like 100 years ago. All ages. Chesapeake Railway Museum, Chesapeake Beach: rsvp: 410/947–9330.

Hula Hoop Hop
Sat. April 7 (1pm)–How long can you hula hoop? Put on a poodle skirt and show off your tricks. Find out why hula hoop was all the rage in the ’50s. Prizes awarded. Hula hoops provided. All ages. $2. Annapolis Rec. Center, Annapolis: 410/263-7958.

Meet the Lighthouse Keeper
April 7-8 (10am–5pm)–Drumpoint Lighthouse is home this weekend.
Talk to Keeper Yeatman and his wife and find out what it was like to live in a lighthouse in 1918. All Ages. $. Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons Island: 410/326-2042.

Let’s Go Birding
Sun. April 8 (4–6pm)–Get to know the birds in your own backyard. Learn about their behavior and what kind they are. Then go birdwatching. Ages: kids and parents. $2. Smallwood State Park, Upper Marlboro.

Play Ball with an Oriole
April 9-13 (9am-4pm)–Improve your fielding, catching, hitting and base running. Former Orioles pitcher Ken Dixon gives tips at a week long baseball camp for girls and boys. Attend an Orioles game, too. Ages 8-17. $125. South Bowie Community
Center, Bowie: rsvp: 301/249-1622.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly