Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Red and White Can

I've been working at the hardware in the evenings lately, as management have decided that Danielsville does not roll up the sidewalks at 6:00 PM as it has for the past 100 or so years. They got em a fancy flashing neon sign to anounce their intentions. I guess they need to "expand the customer base" to to match the influx of "them that ain't from around here that raises our taxes." Got to get the money back somehow.

Needless to say, we're sorta' slow this time of the year. As a diversion, I started taking my music with me. A couple of locals will show up with their instruments, a couple of staffers play a little, and a few people just show up to listen. Never more than 5 or 6 people.

Hubert comes in after he eats his supper over at William's Bar B Que to listen to music  and BS a little before he "goes to the barn". Hubie is a small man who always has a smile, a clean pair of overalls, a John Deere hat and a Dickies work coat. He's an octogenarian who never fails to come up with a great story about the old days in Danielsville. He was a farm hand, a cotton gin worker, worked in a metal shop, and finished his career at the University of Georgia, whatever it took, as he says. He keeps a few cows, hangs out at the sale barn, and generally does as he pleases.

 It seems Hubert was one of triplets, the only one that lived. He said they were name Herbert, Hubert, and I think he said, Herman. I asked I he was born first or middle or last. He said he didn't know, or whether he was really Hubert. He always wondered about that. He said people came from miles to see triplets...but unfortunately, one only live 3 weeks, one 3 month, and Hubert, 80 years, so far. I asked how it was he lived, and he said it was because of Carnation milk...that's what old Doc Crawford put him on as a baby. He said he could still punch a hole in a can and drink the whole thing down...he likes it.

That put me in the mind of a story that I heard from Otis Pierce, a cantankerous charactacter who was ophaned in Missouri, wandered around Texas horse catching and and roustabouting, and finally moved to California and owned a bar near Sanger on the King's River called Pierces's Park. He was a good musician, and played with any number of bands and people, and in an interview, he tells this story about Carnation Milk, which I repeated to Hubert.

"There was a Carnation Milk plant in Ava, Missouri, you know, and they had a contest ever week to tell about the goodness of Carnation milk, and whoever won the contest that week got a 5.00 bill. Well, this woman started a jingle that went:

Carnation Milk in the Red and White can,
Good for the woman and good for the man

Well, she left it on the kitchen table and her husband walked in from the milk barn, finished it, sent it in, and won $5.00. Now, she was put out, and asked him what he wrote. He said he just finished what she wrote.

Carnation Milk in the Red and White Can
Good for the woman and good for the man
No teats to pull, no hay to pitch,
Just punch a hole in the son of a bitch."

Hubert almost fell of the bench laughing.

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