I guess I never mentioned why I named this site “Cottonboll Twist.” Well, cotton-boll twist is a kind of tobacco that is cured and hand twisted to be used for chewing or pipe smoking, whichever is preferred. The first and only time I ever saw it, heard of it or in any way, came in contact with it is when I saw my friend, Utah’s, Grandpa Hampton whittle off a piece and either smoke it in his pipe or chew it. I think he did both; I can’t be sure now.
The main thing I remember is it smelled so strong, I wondered how he could use it. Now, mind you, I was only about eleven years old when I first met him.
Utah moved to my home town when I was about eleven or twelve. That was in 1947 or maybe 1948. Anyhow, the first time I saw Utah was when he walked in front of my house on his way home. He had just moved there from Oklahoma. I went out and stopped him and asked who he was and what he was doing here. He told me his name and I decided to check him out so I gave him a shove and told him to beat it and don’t come around here anymore.
Later on that same day, I had on a pair of roller skates, the kind that screwed onto the soles of my shoes and had a strap across the top of my foot, and I was skating around on the road in front of our house when I saw a big girl coming down the street toward me. I didn’t know who she was so I didn’t pay much attention to her. When she got even with me, she asked me if I was the guy who was pushing her little brother around and I think I said yes. The next thing I knew, she had me around the neck and was punching on my head. Being on roller skates, I couldn’t do anything except keep getting hit. Her name was Mary Lee.
She finally let me go and told me I’d better not pick on her little brother anymore. And I never did. In my self defense, Utah and I became friends.
To make a long story shorter and get back to the subject, Utah and his sister were raised by their Grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Hampton. We called him, “Pop Hampton.”
They bought the first television in the neighborhood and Pop Hampton loved the wrestling matches. He thought Lou Thez (Aloysius Martin Thesz) and Sandor Szabo (Peter Sandor) were the greatest. All of us kids were allowed to watch a television show, the wrestling, about once a week, and in those days, wrestling really looked real!
That’s Sandor on the left and Lou on the right.
It was a lot of fun going to Utah’s house and watching tv on their 17 inch set. Pop Hampton would take out the twist of tobacco and carve on it with his pocket knife and pack it into his pipe and smoke it. It stunk so bad I never could figure how he could stand it. I don’t guess it hurt him much, though. I saw Utah again about ten years ago (or 12) and he told me Pop Hampton had died the year before at age 94.
So there you have it. I’m honoring Pop Hampton and thinking of getting a twist for myself. I’ve only got 21 years to go! (If the Good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise!
PS Also, I have worked at picking all of the products about which I wrote; Cotton, Peaches and Grapes-and a bunch more! And, did I enjoy it!— NO WAY!!!