When I was a kid, Old Man Stan used to visit my parent’s house. He would always chew tobacco. I was about eleven at that time, and of course, I was curious to what chewing tobacco was, and how it tasted. I figured it would taste like bubble gum, or maybe chocolate. Either way, I wanted to try some.
Old Man Stan was quite the rascal. He used to cut firewood and deliver it to widows living in the area. He would never take money from the women, and me and my friend Ricky were always curious to how they paid for their firewood. Hey, we were innocent kids back then!
Anyway, one day Old Man Stan, who was Ricky’s grandfather, asked if we would like to go with him to cut firewood. Mom said it was okay for me to go, but I was not allowed to come along when he delivered his wood. I always wondered why, but now I know.
We were up in the woods (as we newfies always say, up in the woods means deep in the forest) with the old guy when he takes out a ‘chaw’ and stuffs it into his cheeks. Right away he begins spitting. As kids we right away figured that it must have tasted like crap, the way he was trying to get the stuff out of his mouth. He said that it tasted minty, and freshened his breath, but we didn’t believe him, his breath always smelled like rotten onions to me, you could smell him right across the room.
Ricky was the first to try some, chewing it like his mouth couldn’t stop. I took a bit and began chewing as well. Of course, we swallowed the stuff as fast as we could, to get the taste out of our mouths. This made the two of us sick, and we must have vomited the rest of the day while Old Man Stan laughed his head off at the both of us.
I never picked up the tobacco chewing habit, neither did Ricky (although he did become a smoker). Old Man Stan? He passed away many years ago from throat cancer. Go figure!