July 10, 2012

Try to Re-member~A Cane Grinding

Try to remember ....the days of September~~~ No, no, this is not to be a music quiz, however I do want to challenge our [collective ] ability to recall from waaaaaay back when.  Come along with me.
  • What in the world is/was a CANE GRINDING? My recall is from the 1940's & '50s. A cane grinding was several things. First was the grinding of  locally grown sugar cane. The first result left you with a juice. Next the cane juice was cooked in a large round iron pan resting atop an enclosure with a roaring fire beneath. The cane juice was turned into sugar cane syrup.
  • Next, this was an evening  social gathering with the neighbors in a rural area. My point of reference is rural south Georgia. The men mostly handled the syrup making. The ladies sat around visiting catching up on family, church and community news. 
  • The young children just scattered, ran to and fro both inside & outside the building playing , creating their own fun and games in the dark except for perhaps a campfire outdoors.
  • That leaves us with the next group, the teenagers. Surely they didn't hang around for such a boring part social, part work event? Surely they did!! Teenagers looked forward to showing up for these, meeting their friends both boys and girls. It was indeed a party, a social occasion. Why, you may ask would the teenagers hang around much less look forward to such a thing. This was an occasion where the teenagers made their fun by specific games like "spin the bottle" that offered the reward of being able to pair up and amble off for a romantic 'walk down the lane' with your fella or girlfriend or a sweetheart 'wannabee.'  That was basically the whole motivation for attracting and keeping the teenagers' interest and presence. Sometimes this might be the only significant boy-girl dating actually sanctioned.  If a pair were not given their parents' blessing to date they often could arrange to get together  respectably attending a neighbor's cane grinding.
  • Next: Your memories. We will move on to other social events like this after I get some feedback from some of you. Please add your memories by leaving a COMMENT. JH


  1. This post made me smile... :) I think I would have loved to have lived just a few/couple/one generation ahead of my time.... back when things were a little more simple - I love hearing stories like these!

  2. Heather I'm thinking you just barely missed it..considering where/how you grew up I'm wondering if sugar was grown in that area..it was in south Georgia,Alabama was/is in Louisianna-mmm I recall Ted connecting w a farmer over there that did grow sugar cane and make his own syrup. Shame, Shame that you and Holly and Roy missed out..but talk to your folks esp your grandparents..ask them what kinds of things were turned into community social gatherings..betcha you will come back with stories to tell..get it down while you still have them with you.I JUST KNOW VICKIS DAD CAN COME UP WITH SOMETHING FOR YOU.

    I plan to follow with a few more like this..IF I DON'T FORGET IT ALL!

  3. I know that there was a man in Stringtown that grew sugar cane... I'm not sure if he made syrup - probably, though.... I would love to hear the stories.... I'll have to spend a Sat with them listening... he LOVES to tell about the "good ole' days"....

  4. I've never heard of a cane grinding, Jonell. I do miss the town gatherings of my childhood. They happened more through church and our city's recreation events. The area was smaller then and we knew everyone. I enjoyed your story. It did bring back memories of sweeter hometown days.

    As for the Slurpees, I think you'd be out of luck. They were running out of cups fast when we got there this afternoon and we had to wait in line! But we got ours and it was GOOD!


  5. I havent been to an official cane grinding either but I had a patient in Offerman or Patterson years ago that was making at their house one day. It was one of those days that I wish I had more time & my camera. They were kin to my neighbors, The Dubberlys...maybe you knew them. We have bought their syrup by the case...but I wonder if something has happened to them now.
    Anyway...Im emailing you this morning.

  6. Tina: I likely did know the Dubberlys..went to school w Bud and Myra-Mershon; Also one of my first cousins Peggy Mobley Harris and husband JOhnny Harrison for AT LEAST 30 yrs [before she died] had an EPIC lol gatherng every year the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING..it was equal to what you would see on the travel channel..cane grinding syrup making and every kind of meat processed, cooked and served -Peggy only made homemade biscuits for the event. We were able to go one year 1991 I think..people came from many states it was "something to write home about. I need to get one of her family to compose an account of it and post for everyone.

  7. Liz: I am sure these "social gatherings" all took on the flavor of each community depending upon activities like farming or harvesting of whatever was produced/grown; People were very social and hospitable much more so than most communities are today. They made their own fun and games & entertainment.


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