Tube Rose Snuff and The “Spit Cup”
Mama and her cousin , B. were as thick as thieves, but were as different as night and day.
Mama smoked her Winston Cigarettes, somewhat discreetly and B. dipped her Tube Rose
Snuff, but quite proudly. Always within reach, B. kept an old one pound coffee can to use as
her spittoon. Endearingly, she referred to it as her “spit cup”. Mama hated that “spit cup” with
a passion! “That ol’ nasty thang”, she’d say. If you knock it over, you gon’ have a mess. Git that
nasty can outta your nice living room gull.” Then to amuse herself and infuriate Mama even
more, B.’d stroll over to the back door on those little fat feet of hers, twist the doorknob, crack
the door open just a tad, lean a part of her head out and expertly aim and spit a perfect torpedo
of brown tinged snuff juice toward an imaginary target! With the deed done, she’d look over at
Mama and smile that devilish smile revealing her small, squarish, woe’ down brown teeth. THen
she’d waddle back ‘cross the floor to claim her favorite chair.
B. had succeeded in getting the last word, without uttering a sound! I swear it was funny! If
that wasn’t bad enough, Alma’d pull her bottom lip down deftly remove the moist, dark brown
and neatly compacted wad of snuff that tucked inside , wrap it up in “a piece a’ toilet tissue”, ball
it up and stick it inside her apron pocket. Her purpose was to save it for later to pack it back to
its rightful place…inside her lower lip. Mama would say, “Alma who in the devil ever heard of
savin’ a ‘snuff short? That ain’t no cigarette! Throw that mess away!” Of course, she would not!
She’d say, “I ain’t thow-win’ nothin’ away! This pinch a’ snuff is still good”. Ain’t nothin’ wrong
wit’ it! You must be crazy if you think I’ma thow away this good snuff.”
Although she B. had an innate and canny skill for getting along with Mama, she would staunchly
defy her when it came to defending her snuff! As usual, not to be outdone, Mama’d still tried to
edge in the last word. Perplexed, but also amused, she’d say, “I swanny Alma, you something