To get your ducks in a row
To be well prepared or well organized for something that is going to happen
e.g. When my doctor gave me a very poor prognosis, he advised me to get my ducks in a row before my major surgery.
The Spartanburg Herald Journal in South Carolina ran a story on June 21, 1947 entitled, “The Bulwinkle Bill”. The article stated:
The railroads of this country are entitled to “get their ducks in a row.” They are now, and always will, bear the burden of traffic in this country and they have not in recent years enjoyed a very substantial prosperity.
The Herald Sports weekly newspaper published an article written by Miles H. Wolff on November 17, 1931 entitled, “Columbia and Clinton Scenes Of Hot Games.” He began his article with this:
The schedule makers of our South Carolina colleges are busily engaged just now getting their ducks in a row for the 1932 football season. That they are having difficulties.....
Earlier yet, the Daily Progress newspaper in Petersburg, Virginia ran an article on June 16, 1910.
It quite frequently happens that when political parties and even nations think they have “their ducks in a row” the unexpected happens which knocks their well-laid plans awry.
The top bowlers of the 19th century in America decided that bowling needed a standard set of rules and so the American Bowling Congress was established in 1895. The game had been brought to America by the Dutch, Germans and English shortly before the Civil War when only 9 pins were used. The game proved to be very popular, so much so that in 1841 Connecticut outlawed 9-pin bowling due to its association with gambling.
To get around the law, indoor bowling alley proprietors added a tenth pin to the game in 1870. The game was modified and short, slender pins were introduced called duckpins because of their shape.
People were employed by the alleys to set the pins up for each player’s frame in a game. The re-setting of the pins was referred to as getting one’s ducks in a row.