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Where did that come from? - Make hay while the sun shines
Stan St. Clair

There is a saying around here, “If you don’t like the weather in Tennessee stick around a day or two. It will change.” 

Isn’t that the truth? It can be 53 degrees in the morning in June. Then just a couple of days later, be in the 90s for a high.

Another thing is that rain showers are unpredictable. You can watch the weather on the Nashville channels or on the internet and it tell you there is a 90% chance of rain at a particular time and it could go completely around us. Then, at the opposite end of the spectrum, no rain may be in the forecast and we get caught in a downpour!

It is stuff like this that prompted this old saying. It’s been true since the beginning of time.  

This may be used either literally or figuratively. The first mention of it as a proverb comes from John Heywood’s “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue,” 1546.

“Whan the sunne shinth make hay. Whiche is to say. Take time whan time cometh, lest time steale away.”

Quickly becoming cliché, like many other such proverbs, in 1673 it was cited in a figurative, non-farming context by Richard Head in his glossary containing phrases formerly used by thieves and vagabonds, The Canting Academy: “She ... was resolv’d ... to make Hay whilest the Sun shin’d.

So let’s remember, the only certain things are death and taxes, and some people may get out of paying taxes. Enjoy pretty weather when you have it. Let’s get safely out this summer, remembering that we should make hay while the sun is shining!


If you would like to know the origin of a favorite expression, text the author at 931-212-3303 or email him at stan@stclair.net.