Sunday, December 28, 2008

How about a little dip?

This year at Christmas, The Babs, (my mom) received an empty can of snuff as a gift. And it is such a valued piece of family history, that it was presented to her in a keepsake case. This snuff was always with my grandma, Bird. Bird started dipping snuff as a child. Although, it might be strange to some of you, this was a common way for women to enjoy tobacco back in her day. Bird would always open the container and shake some snuff onto the lid. Then, she would use the lid to insert the snuff into her lower lip. "Spit cups" were empty coffee cans lined with paper towels. They were located in various places in her home. Later on in her life, someone gifted her with a brass spittoon. She always had good aim.

The Bruton Scotch Snuff that is pictured above, is actually a nasal snuff. It is a very fine, dry powder intended to be sniffed through the nose. The Bruton brand is noted to be quite potent. Some women in the Appalachian region enjoyed snuff by dipping a stick, (with the end chewed up like a brush), into the snuff and then rubbing it onto their gums. I always saw Bird enjoy her snuff by dipping. Although tobacco is noted to be a product with all types of health risks, she is still living life well into her 90's.

12 comments:

  1. That was a very unique gift. I never heard of a nasal snuff before. My grandmother "rubbed" snuff as they called it. When I was a young child in the 60s many of the women up the holler where I lived rubbed snuff.

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  2. My grandmother also "dipped". She thought she had it hid, but we all knew. Her mother, on the other hand, openly "dipped" and "chewed.
    When my great-grandmother came to visit at our house, we would see who could get her spit can fixed first. What fun memories.
    Nina

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  3. You know I wonder if it's the tobacco or all the chemicals sprayed on it now. My husband says that everybody that farmed also used tobacco and nobody in the old days seemed to get sick from it. his daughter is a big dipper and I worry about her getting cancer. It's a question though.

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  4. Janet - I have never heard of "rubbing" snuff. I had never heard of nasal snuff before, until I did a little research on my grandma's type of snuff.

    Nina - Did she chew plugs of tobacco?

    Karen - I agree with you about the chemicals used these days. It does make you wonder.

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  5. My great granny also dipped snuff. She always had a big wad in the front of her mouth.
    She used to send me to the store to buy it for her and then wanted to give me a kiss for being such a sweet child. Oh lord, it was nasty.
    Funny thing...when she died, the mortician put some in her lip for her "viewing." No shit.

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  6. The above comment is me...had a brain fart.

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  7. My dad's mom dipped snuff. She was a little embarrassed by the habit and tried to "dip" discreetly but that was a little difficult when she'd have to spit every few minutes or so.

    I inherited 3 unopened cans but I'm not sure where they are at the moment or what brand they are. I may have to hunt for those.

    I remember my grandmother always having the faint smell of snuff and Dove soap about her--two very different scents but very pleasant memories for me.

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  8. Dejoni - I can't believe that the mortician put some dip in her lip. I wonder if Little Walt would do that now?

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  9. I never saw my great grandmother without a can. she kept a small mustard jar lined with kleenex in her apron pocket to spit, all lady like.

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  10. Yes, she did chew plugs. She would get a plug from my daddy's "twist of Mammoth Cave when she didn't have any of her own.
    Nina

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  11. Bruton is Pap's choice of snuff too. My Granny dipped snuff but I don't recall what brand. Having grown up around spit cups they don't much bother me-as long as I don't have to touch them!

    Heres on for you and Dejoni-the church I've recently started going to-has a man who brings his own spit cup to every service! And NO they don't have snakes! HaHa

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  12. This is the first reference I have seen to what my Grandmother referred to as "scouring". I spent many hours watching her in her 80's and 90's (and along with her sisters) scouring and playing solitare. This was all in central Maine. The story was that when they were young they all worked in the woolen mills here and couldn't smoke so they scoured.

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