"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Cabins are in my stars, stories-- only11 days 'til Christmas

"My Cabin," 5 x 7 watercolor card
As this year's star journey continues toward Christmas, my thoughts turn again to one of my most iconic symbols, a cabin, usually in the mountains.
Those who know me well have seen me write and paint about them many times. No wonder one of my earliest cards this year was of another cabin, in the mountains where all the stars shine brightly, all full of dreams, wishes, warmth, memories and more.
If you wish, here are three links, stories, paintings and photos of cabins in my life and their influence. 
Our cabin
Earliest article comes from just over a decade ago, when this blog was new, "Where's Your Cabin?" 
The others, five years later, shows a painting and photo of our cabin when we were growing up in New Mexico. "My stars," that's a long time ago!


Today  I started wondering about that old interjection, "My Stars!" As with any cabin, there has to be a story behind it, and in fact there are several.
While it's now mostly an American expression, considered archaic, grandmotherly and Southern, it has historic English roots.
Here's what I found:

  • It likely arose from a reference to the British Order of the Garter, founded in 1311, the highest award that the English King or Queen can give a knight, with a medal worn in the shape of a star, not something that holds up an article of clothing.
  • The phrase probably started as "Oh, my stars and garters," an exclamation referring to any royal honors and awards, and perhaps to any high honors.  
  • The phrase morphed into others, like "Bless my stars," and "Thank my lucky stars" in the 1600's, probably  referring to serious beliefs that certain  stars influence our well being and rule our fate, still alive in astrology today.
  • Then in 1593, without the reference to garters, "My stars" was so common, it went in print when  Christopher Marlowe used it in the play The troublesome raigne and lamentable death of Edward the second.
My stars, that's more than you wanted to know about a phrase and my cabins!


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