Best Of Grizzard - "Snuff-Dippers"

  • Tuesday, September 27, 2022
  • Jerry Summers

The nasty habit of dipping a twig into a can of Bruton’s Sniff and applying the contents to the inside of your mouth between your gums has gone the way of Lucky Strike and Camel cigarettes as the most popular brands of tobacco.

The revelation that cancer of the mouth and lips and that cigarettes caused lung cancer finally transcended into the present day possible carcinogenic cancer causes of smokeless tobacco and vaping.

In prior generations before baseball players popularized the chewing of Beechnut and Red Man there was also the number one seller of the ground-up tobacco product known as “snuff.”

It was never a widely publicized fact by the advocates of the women’s liberation movement, but snuff dipping was a regular practice of many members of the “gentler sex.”

Lewis Grizzard (LG) in another best seller, “If Love Were Oil, I’d Be About a Quart Low” (1983 Warner Books/Peachtree Publishers) describes the use of the habit by his beloved grandmother, Mama Willie and how he would sometimes use it to lessen corporal punishment for an indiscretion:

My grandmother was one of the all-time snuff-dippers.  As she pored over her Bible each day, she would load up her bottom lip with a generous dip and rock gently and contentedly with the Word of the Lord and the best the Bruton’s Snuff Company had to offer.

On my way home from school on those days I had been promised a whipping.  I would occasionally spend the dime my mother had given me for an after-school treat on a small ten-cent tin of Bruton’s, that was always in stock at “Cureton and Cole’s store.

Either Mr.

J. W. Thompson or Mr. Lee Evans, who owned the store and worked in it, would sell me the snuff.  They thought it strange that a nine-year-old boy already had developed a taste for snuff, but when I told them it was a gift for my grandmother, they were more than happy to sell it to me.

“You must be a mighty nice young man to be spending your candy money on a can of snuff for your grandmother,” one of the men would say to me.

I took the compliment and never told anyone that the real reason I was blowing perfectly good candy money on snuff, was that it was a last-ditch attempt to avoid a beating with a peace offering.

My grandmother was, in fact, touched by my sacrifice, and normally would let me off with nothing more than a tongue-lashing.  Thus, I learned another lesson that would be invaluable in subsequent dealing with women-you occasionally can buy off with a gift. (3 ex-wives later!)

            (The record is silent as to whether any of the ladies that were offended by some of the comments that LG published in his 25 books, or 450 syndicated newspapers were “snuff dippers” of their own choice.    However, his comment that women in the liberation movement “were like Russian women who didn’t shave their legs” did produce a critical outcry that he was a “sexist!)

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You can reach Jerry Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)
Jerry Summers
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