Appalachia children Games

Bread n Butter and Posts


Blind Pig reader Hazel Carr, sent me the following question after reading the childhood game posts I’ve been sharing.

“Do you remember that when 2 people are walking together, and they come to a post (or other item) and one goes on one side and the other goes on the other, then they say “Bread and Butter”.  I have forgotten what is said after that.”

I’ve never heard the bread n butter saying before, but a quick google told me lots of other folks are familiar with it. The saying seems to have been wide spread at one time and is thought to be very old. Folks from various places in the US comment about the saying on this page as does someone from Scotland.

The saying is a superstitious one said to prevent the pole or other obstacle from literally coming between two people and causing a rift in their friendship. The saying seems perfect for keeping folks together as everyone knows once you spread butter on bread there’s no getting it off 🙂


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  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 18, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    I’m soon to be 68 years old and have never lived in a place that had sidewalks. Schools has walks, of course, but everywhere I have lived has had ditches along the roadsides. I guess I never learned to walk side by side. It was dangerous on paved roads and if you tried to walk close on a gravel road one would be in the route and the other in the gravel.
    I reckon I missed out on a lot growing up but you know what. I got to experience things that most people couldn’t even dream of. Being backward and backwoodsie is looked down on but I wouldn’t trade my life for mansions made of gold.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 18, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Don’t remember the pole thang….do remember if two friends were talking and we said the same thing at the same time, one exclaimed “Bread and Butter” and grasped little fingers together and made a wish! I’m trying hard to remember if when we were riding in a car and exclaimed a sight seen together if we yelled, “Bread n’ Butter”….maybe the cobwebs will collapse soon and I can remember…
    Thanks for this post…

  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    September 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    I still say it. Sometimes I’ll say “peas and carrots” instead.

  • Reply
    Evan Kruppenbach
    September 18, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Both my son and my daughter get a big kick out of saying, “bread and butter” each time we let go from holding hands to navigate around any obstacle. A lamppost, street sign, even a large planter works. We often go out of our way to practice this old ritual. And we do a lot of walking and hand holding.
    I learned about this from my grandmother Eva, who grew up and lived in Greensboro most of her life.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    I grew up saying “Bread and Butter”. I teach it to my kindergarten classes too!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Never heard that one . But i do like bread and butter. Mmm!

  • Reply
    Kathy Poteet Dubree
    September 18, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    The only way I’ve heard it used is when someone was talking about their job they would say it’s their bread and butter.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

    This is new to me. It does seem like though that when I was growing up we had a thing called “Splits”. We would see two people walking side by side and would charge at them, yell “Splits” and run between them. That can lead to some interesting possibilities especially if they couldn’t or didn’t get apart. I don’t remember any fatalities though.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 18, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Haven’t heard this one but I sure do love bread & butter. Ate the leftover rolls from last night as a midnight snack!

  • Reply
    Jane W Bolden
    September 18, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I remember walking down the sidewalk from town to my house in late fifties or early sixties. There was a telephone post in the middle of the sidewalk. My grandmother said bread and butter when it separated us. Sweet memory!

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    September 18, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Like Miss Cindy, I have heard it never used it or remember where

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 18, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I’ve done Bread and Butter all my life, but I never heard of it being any sort of superstition. I guess I never took
    Step on a Crack Break Your Mother’s Back seriously either. They were just fun.

    • Reply
      September 18, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      Same here, Ann, for both of those customs. In our case, it was a big old oak tree the sidewalk separated.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 18, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I am like Miss Cindy. The phrase ‘bread and butter’ is vaguely familiar but I can’t remember how it was used. I do recall that I did not use it.

    Btw, about walking together, I once read somewhere that the man of a male-female pair is supposed to walk on the street side so as to grab any runaway horses. Good to know fellas.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 18, 2018 at 7:44 am

    I don’t believe I’ve heard that but want to say I have. I think it sounds familiar because I like bread and butter so much. Now, I’m familiar with step on a crack break your Mother’s back.
    I guess some will know about this one. When two people say the same word at same time. Ever who says first, you owe me a coke. The winner gets a free coke. Problem was so many of us kids didn’t have money to buy a nickel candy bar let alone a coke.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 7:40 am

    My mother always said it! I had forgotten about it until a few years ago when I realized I was saying it silently!!

  • Reply
    Par Harvey
    September 18, 2018 at 6:54 am

    How about “Step on a crack you break your mother’s back” . Haven’t heard that one in years.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    September 18, 2018 at 6:43 am

    I remember Bread and Butter from in the 40’s. When the fifties came and we went off to high school
    it was forgotten or thought to be too childish for us. Lots of fun things went by the wayside once we hit our teens. We thought we were too grown up to play childish games.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 18, 2018 at 5:24 am

    I’ve heard that saying, somewhere in the distant past but I can’t , yet, remember the context or what comes next. Maybe it was linking pinkies next so we would never be parted again. That was a long time ago and at the moment I can’t retrieve any more.

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