Days Gone Bye: How Come It’s Called Sweet Milk

Published 9:00 am Sunday, November 19, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I got to pondering on stuff we say down here in the Southland, and the first thing that came to mind was “sweet milk.” Any of y’all ever heard anybody up Nawth call it that? Well, I reckon that’s to separate it from buttermilk, which I normally eat with cornbread crumbled all up in it. 

What if you heah somebody in these parts utter, “Gimme some sugar.” You durn well know they’re not asking for that white, granular stuff that sets in a little bowl with flowers painted on it, right there in the middle of the dining room table. 

How ‘bout if you overheah some fellow, probably with sorta gray hair, pursing his lips, and saying, “Well, I caught myself looking.” He’s from down south, never missing the chance to gander at the more than fine ladies we got, and then kinda apologizing for doing it. 

Email newsletter signup

What would you expect from a tough ol southern redneck boy in his four wheel drive Dooly coming up on a little old lady putting along at 30 miles per hour.  Naw. Wouldn’t be cussing and horn blowing. He’d just shake his head, and say to himself, “Bless her heart.”

Doing stuff also speaks a heap. We just natural born know that when a neighbor is having trouble, the best way to show your concern is with a plate of hot fried chicken and a bowl of potato salad. 

Hey, y’all know the nice part about living in a small town? When you don’t know what you’re doing, somebody else always does. 

Ladies, I know y’all have heard the saying that if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it will always be yours, and if it doesn’t, it never was yours to start with. But what if it just sets in your living room, messing up your stuff, eating everything in the fridge, taking your money, and doesn’t seem to give a hoot whether you set it free or not….Well, you either married it or gave birth to it. 

I reckon we need grown ups who do some of the old stuff. I’m talking about womenfolk who wash aluminum foil after they cook with it, so they can use it again, or fellows who are happier getting old shoes fixed rather than getting a new pair at Walmart. 

We ought not be so daggum ready to trade in stuff these days. Shoot, you’re supposed to keep old wives and even old husbands, old cars, chullen with bad report cards, dogs with bad hips, and aging mamas and daddies. You’re ‘posed to do that on account of they’re better than trade ins. 

You be sure to keep that ol’ Iver Johnson single barrel 12 gauge your daddy gave you when you got to be twelve.  Not on account of it shoots better than that fancy shotgun you bought, but because your daddy gave it to ya.  That’s how come you keep your mama’s receipt for liver and onions.  Not ‘cause you ever could stomach that stuff yourself, but because that’s what she cooked for your daddy with loving hands. 

Smile.  It makes folks wonder what you’ve been up to.