Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dippin', Chewin' & Smokin'

We were allowed to play in the rain or get under the downspouts whenever there was a good rain with no lightning. This was like a shower. We could even take the soap outside and really take a shower, with our clothes on, of course. We could make mud pies and wade mud puddles to our heart's content. It was so relaxing to feel the mud between my toes.

Some of the things we did were not good for our teeth. When we had plenty of sugar, my mamma kept a big 100 pound bag behind the door in the kitchen. We would sneak and fill a clean snuff can half full of sugar and finish filling it with cocoa. We would shake it up and roam the woods playing "dipping snuff." When we came in, we hid our box in the brush pile. It was a waterproof tin can, so we would leave it there until next play time.

We would also cut slits in the sweetgum trees. When the sap came through, we collected it and chewed it for chewing gum. It was usually so sticky that it got all over our teeth. If you could cool it in water, you could chew it for a while. It did not have a good flavor, but was just something we did.

Since no one had store-bought toothbrushes until they were grown up, we used blackgum limbs from trees to make our toothbrushes. Sometimes we used hickory bark, sometimes red willow if we were close to the creek.

We chewed and smoked rabbit tobacco, a wild weed. Of course, all this was kept secret from our parents. We smoked grapevines, which always had a bad effect on the kidneys for some reason. We smoked corn silk and leaves of the birch trees. This was dangerous as the leaves were so loose that the fire came through into your mouth, so I am not recommending that anyone try this, besides the affect it could have on health.

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