Monday, March 12, 2012

The Spit & Whittle Club

The Spit and Whittle Club.......The club was about a half block from the city park.  It was in a small one room house under a Mulberry tree across the street from the County court house.  The old men sat on big apple crates, an old church pew set against the wall, and chairs liberated from several places.  They sat outside in the spring and summer. In the winter they sat inside around a big bellied stove fueled with coal from the nearby blacksmith shop.

Mr Mitchel, a man that my Dad farmed his place on the shares, was often there and he would be whittling stars, animals, and abstract geometric figures out of the sides and ends of produce boxes. He always used the small blade on his Barlow do do the cutting. When my dad stopped by to talk to him, I'd play in the park, and when we left Mr. Mitchel or one the other men would give me all the things they had whittled out that day.

My mother called it, "That Nasty Place" because most of the men chewed and would spit their tobacco into coffee cans sitting around on the ground.  Some mens' aim was better than others.  They didn't drink coffee at the club. They drank something with a brown sack wrapped tightly around it.  They would always offer my Dad a chaw or a sip.  He always said, no.  Dad was devout Baptist deacon, and thought that even going to the movies was a sin. Although he did roll his own with papers from a pocket can of Prince Albert.  Sometimes when we were through visiting, Dad and I would walk across the street and get a Dr. Pepper or an RC out of the Coke machine at the City Service filling station.

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