Do any of you remember when you used to hide and smoke corn silks wrapped in brown paper bag paper? Well, I do. That is really the only time I can remember ever attempting to smoke anything resembling a cigarette. “Roll your own” was very popular when I was growing up. There was “Prince Albert” in the can; “George Washington” in the can also and used mostly for pipe tobacco; “Bull Durham” in a drawstring sack and my Mom’s favorite “Buffalo” also in a drawstring sack. Yep, that was what my Mom smoked and she would walk a mile, not for a camel, but a small pack of Buffalo Tobacco and roll your own papers.
Do you remember the ease, the patience they had in rolling their own? These little gems had to be rolled just right, and the paper was see through thin, and I noted the mouth was held just right as they rolled, and I guess each had his/her own way of rolling their own to make sure they had a good one…then they would take their tongue and roll across the homemade jewel of a smoke to make good and sure it was sticking together, holding the “baccer” so they wouldn’t lose it before they got to take a puff or two. Then they would put that limp piece of tissue paper with a little “baccer” in it, hastily to their lips, because most of the time while they were licking it to seal it, “baccer” would fall all over the place, but they’d light it and puff away. You know, I always heard smoking wasn’t good for a feller but most of these I speak of lived to be a ripe old age.
Well, I grew up with a bunch of old folks who would sit around at night puffing and telling tall tales. The men would smoke out in the open but the women would hide to do their smoking, lest someone seen them and that was not proper. I guess watching the women folk hide to smoke, got us youngans wanting to do the same. Anyhow, we tried to mock our peers and one of the older kids in the group had heard about drying corn silks for “baccer”. That sounded good to us. So, me and a couple of my cousins decided we would try to “roll our own” and we went out into Auntie’s garden, slipped off some corn silks, put them in the sun to dry and when they got good and dry, we proceeded to “roll our own”, something like this: we’d take an old brown paper poke or sack, tear it up in strips, place a few corn silks on the paper and wrap it up. Then, we’d do that “rolling over the tongue sealing kind of thing” to make sure we didn’t loose any. Then, we’d light it up and puff away as we had watched the old folks do. A puff or two would do us as I remember how it would take our breath. That was about as far as I got into smoking, the old time brown paper bag, cornsilk roll your own. A very special kind indeed.
I wonder with all the disease today and smoking issues if there was anything in that special blend of roll your own that hurt us. Probably not. I don’t recommend cigarette smoking to anyone, corn silks or what have you, nosireee. Don’t try it folks, it could be hazardous to your health, or your butt as when we were caught we dearly paid but did we try it again, what do you think?