This phrases origin is unknown, but could have begun in Scotland before 1829- a reference to this phrase was made regarding the Duke of Wellington.
It generally is used as a term to demonstrate the unhurried pace of how cows travel in their demonstrative unhurried pace.
It can be used in a positive sense, “I could stay here in this setting until the cows come home”, or perhaps in a derogatory way, “Are you going to get with it? We might be here until the cows come home”.
Since I love cows, and grew up with them, I choose to use the phrase positively. In fact, I am so fond of cows that I just ordered a large full size fake cow to put in my urban front yard- since the HOA won’t allow live ones. I love cows so much I am going to start raising them again on a sustainable farm just outside of town. Cows bring a sense of peace; owing to their “chill” nature and are usually very happy regardless of their surroundings. They make the most of life as it is presented to them.
Recently on a trip to Washington DC to participate in some charity work, I found this cow:
Even fake cows make one happy. This happy cow happens to be in front of a Chick Fil A- which has done a fantastic job of playing on the theme from cows to encourage us to eat more chicken.
I believe if we focus on the phrase “til the cows come home”, we can easily contemplate the things in our lives that bring us the most peace, gratitude, contentment and love and foster that spirit of always wanting to belong to that place. A place where the things that matter most are not hurried, or driven off of course because of other hectic and fleeting things.
That’s my view. Let’s all find ourselves in that state of life, which wants us to linger longer- unhurried, like our beloved cows.