Thankful November

Corn Shuckings

collage of photos of a family

Marinda Brown: I always got th’biggest thrill out a’that—just th’children and me. Just th’very smallest children would get in and shuck corn and always look for th’red ears. Ever’body that found a red ear had t’be kissed. I didn’t like that too much, though! They’d come all day and just spend th’day, y’know, and go up into th’night. And then they’d have a dance. We’d have our lanterns and lights around, y’know, and we’d shuck up into th’night and have a big feast with tables loaded with all sorts of good foods.

—Foxfire 2

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I’ve never been to a corn shucking. Pap shared some of his memories of corn shuckings with me. He said he looked forward to it every year because there was lots of people to talk and laugh with along with lots of good food to eat.

Today’s Thankful November giveaway is a used copy of “Foxefire 2.” To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends on Tuesday November 19, 2019.

Tipper

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    InTheWoods
    November 19, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Never had the pleasure of attending a corn shucking. Dad, though, spoke of it like an important event, work and a good time combined. Once Fall commenced, he’d get out of school for several days to help with other harvesting. That one-room schoolhouse was quite bare at those times, for sure.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    November 16, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Tipper I have heard about Corn Shucking but folks helped one another and having fun doing it like quilting B. Have you been to a box supper

  • Reply
    Gigi
    November 16, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    O we had corn shuckings alright. Each family to its on, and no dance afterwards either.we had to shuck the corn and cut it off the cob to be out in the freezer. Winter time was coming and that was part of our food for the witer. We never went hungry. Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    November 16, 2019 at 9:39 am

    It is so sad that we no longer have gatherings like the corn shucking. I don’t remember them being mentioned in my family. They did have & go to what my mother-in-law called “play parties” –probably to avoid using the word dance. I have heard that the card game Rook came into being to avoid the curse of card playing with the original kind. I am a flatlander so don’t know how the mountaineers handled this.

    We have had many days of family gathering & putting up food. Once my sister-in-law and I set up to cut corn off outside to try to avoid such a mess. We weren’t thinking & popped corn all over my car–like to never got it off! And we had the pear preserves cooked forever & never set up! Same s-i-l made the mistake of overtightening her lids and came out with green beans with buckled up lids. My worst calamity was a jar of chili just exploding as I took it out of the canner. There was chili on the ceiling & manly other places. I was slightly burned and you can bet I wait now to take those jars out.

  • Reply
    Carley Windsor
    November 16, 2019 at 1:35 am

    I sure do miss gathering to prepare the veggies for storage! We didn’t have community corn shuckings, but I so did enjoy doing the corn, along with bean-breaking, pea-shelling, and all the rest! My Grannie would let us do just about any of the jobs EXCEPT silking the corn and stringing the beans. These two jobs she did herself, because she would never want to give away any of her canned or frozen beans or corn that included either of those things.

    • Reply
      Wanda Devers
      November 16, 2019 at 9:42 am

      Those were wonderful times out on Granny’s front porch. I have a picture of her & Grandpa shelling on the porch. I unfortunately got the jar washing job which I despised.

      Granny horrified Mama with cooking an entire hog head, eyes included–boiling in a big pot. I imagine she made souse out of it. Anyway, Mama would never eat it.

  • Reply
    Jim Kennington
    November 15, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Never went to a corn shucking with a whole passel of folks. My corn shucking, like my string bean snapping, came from sitting on the back porch with my two great-aunts, who looked after us kids while our Moms were working in the cotton mills. They looked after us by teaching us how to plant, hoe, pull weeds, and generally tend the garden. Shucking & snapping was just part of the process. I just noticed that I spell shucking and snapping just like Mrs. Wilson taught me, but I still say them and hear them in my mind as shuckin’ and snappin’. No need to voice those “G”s.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    November 15, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    I remember Dad and some others talking about corn shucking’s but never went to one. I do remember several times when someone would get hurt and the community would get together to get their corn or other crops in. If something happened the bells at the Baptist church and the Methodist church would be rung. Everyone that heard them would go to the church to see what happened and what was needed. I did participate in several grave diggings, Including once when four graves had to be dug because of an auto accident.

  • Reply
    Tmc
    November 15, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    I’ve shucked a few ears of corn, but not where the community got in on it. I liked eating it a lot more than picking and shucking it.

  • Reply
    LB BARN
    November 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    I attended a ” CORN SHUCKING” once, when I was very young, about five ( 5 ) years young, and another a few years later. My memory recollects huge piles of corn brought in from the fields in wagons pulled by mules. I remember lots of food and drink ( strong drink ) for men, women and children were not allowed the “strong” drink, just milk or lemon aide. Prayers were said, and everyone began to “shuck” the corn and place into another pile, to be placed in toe sacks and empty feed sacks. After awhile someone would tell a big tale about this or that and the men would have strong drink, then the dancing would start as men began showing there style, have more strong drink, then the women would joint the men in dancing. Dance awhile, drink awhile and shuck corn awhile until well past bed time. Lots of good food, fun for the men and shucking for the women and kids.
    Too bad we don’t still have “corn shuckings ” to relax the “weiry soul”

  • Reply
    Marjorie Turpen
    November 15, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Never been to one, but sounds like fun.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 15, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Tipper,
    One of Daddy’s brought ole Alice and she pulled a sled to put the corn in. Alice didn’t mind the traffic, cause there hardly wasn’t any on the highway. This was in the Fifties and sixties and I was just a little squirt. Daddy took Alice and the sled up to the field where the corn was, and I sneeked and went too. After me and most of my brothers made it to the field, I climbed inside to ride back to the barn. I watched my brothers bring armload after armload of Hickory Cane and put it in the sled. About the time my brothers brought the last load, ole Alice saw a snake and started jumping around and headed for the barn. I was inside and what a ride! The fiests saw what had happened and they took care of the problem. Alice stopped as soon as she got to the crib cause she had made many trips. The ride had jarred me loose from holding on, and I was covered up in Corn. By the time Daddy and my brothers uncovered me, I was laughing, I thought that was the way it’s supposed to be.

    My second oldest brother, Joel, had been talking with Daddy about getting some Pigs. He brought 40 or 50 at a time, after Daddy had built a Fence around the flat part of our property. After they got about half-grown, most weighed about 185 pounds or more. We ended up with 58 sows, 6 registered bores, and about 300 Pigs. Every color we had, Durocks, Bacon-type hogs, solid white ones, (I think they were Landrace.) And we had my favorite, the Poland-Chinas.

    We had to have a lot of Corn to feed all them hogs. I learned a lot from life’s experiences. …Ken

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    November 15, 2019 at 11:18 am

    I never attended a corn shucking, as they were no longer popular by the time I came along. I have shucked many ears of corn, and that would take the “hide” right off of your dominant hand. Back in the day on Pinnacle Creek there was always a lot going on. I have a picture of my great uncles attending a corn shucking with cousins and friends, and they were dressed to the nines. Now, if there was any doubt as to their actual purpose in dressing up for all that hard work, then there is a mountain of corn shucks behind them to prove they did not gather for folly 🙂 I am sending you an email, Tipper, with that photo, and I hope you enjoy a picture of an old timey corn shucking.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 15, 2019 at 11:16 am

    I never attended a community ‘Corn Shuckin’ but have spent many a day in the crib shucking and shelling corn. Most of these days also turned into a “Jerry Clower Rat Killing’ as our proximity to the Little Tennessee river we had an abundance of Warf Rats. We used to catch Black Snakes and turn them into rat holes and the crib, this did away with a lot of rats but kept my Mom and Sisters out of the crib unless accompanied by me or my Dad.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    November 15, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I’ve never been to a corn shucking but I’ve broke a lot of green beans with family on the front porch. Good company makes the job go quickly!

  • Reply
    Tommy
    November 15, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Haven’t heard of corn shuckings in northeast Mississippi. Always wondered why ppl liked hominy (yuk) & grits (also yuk); wife pointed out to me that in the rural South they didn’t have a lot of food options so they made hominy to make the hard corn edible. BTW, in physical therapy they use a machine called a Fluidotherapy unit for heat treatment. It blows hot ground corn shucks around the affected joint

  • Reply
    Sherry
    November 15, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Those must have been fun times. I would love a Foxfire book!

  • Reply
    Shirl
    November 15, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Mom talked about corn shuckings as if they were the biggest event to attend all year. It gave them a chance to leave their chores, socialize and enjoy a meal prepared by someone else. Mom didn’t get married until she was in her 20s, unlike most of her nine sisters who married much younger. She talked about the excitement of finding the red ear of corn. I heard a story recently about a feller who lived up the holler who was just crazy about her. I’m not sure if their romance started when she found a red ear of corn at one of the shucking parties they both attended. He went off to the army and she met Daddy. That is one of many things I am thankful for during this Thankful November and every day.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 15, 2019 at 9:15 am

    I vaguely recall (I think, though I distrust my memory sometimes) cirn shucking in the barn. But it was just a small family group. I was never at a come-one-come-all corn shucking.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    November 15, 2019 at 9:10 am

    I’ve shucked corn but I’ve never been to an old fashioned corn shucking but that sounds like a whole lot of fun. Some of my fondest memories were of the corn crib. We would take the dogs to the crib and while we were in the crib tossing the corn in one corner the rats would try to escape outside. The dogs would catch most of them.
    Told to me by an Uncle many years ago. He had all his field corn in the crib and there were so many ground squirrels (chipmunks) they were carrying off much of his corn. He got his 22 rifle and went to killing them. One of the ground squirrels had 42 kernels of corn in it’s cheeks.
    My better half asked me to tell this. She was visiting her Grandparents and they told all the kids to not play in the corn crib. Of course that’s where they went. While playing in the crib my Wife lost a cheap plastic ring and couldn’t find it. She just knew one of the mules would eat it and die. She worried all week over the mules and couldn’t wait to get back the next weekend. First thing she done after coming back to Grandparents was check the mules and was relieved to find them alive.

  • Reply
    clyde kessler
    November 15, 2019 at 9:03 am

    My dad told me that when somebody found a red ear they’d get to swig some bootleg. That got the big pile of corn shucked quite fast.

  • Reply
    carol
    November 15, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Hi….I have never been to a Corn Shucking but it sounds wonderful for a gathering of family and friends. We had what we called ‘Corn Boils’….as we live handy to a beautiful lake and we would boil right on the beach. Best of times for sure. Enjoy your writings and the singing as well. Good Wishes …….Carol

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    November 15, 2019 at 8:00 am

    We used to make rifles using corn stalks.

  • Reply
    William P Dotson
    November 15, 2019 at 7:34 am

    We used to do corn shuckings but unlike yours we did whole fields of corn from shocks where Dad had cut and put in shocks then after getting a lot shucked we had to load it onto wagons to haul to the corn crib.

  • Reply
    Stacie Waters
    November 15, 2019 at 7:33 am

    I’ve never been to a corn shuckin but it sounds like a load of fun. I have some of the corn husk dolls of the area. I can say, some of them are amazing artwork!

  • Reply
    marshall reagan
    November 15, 2019 at 7:32 am

    I have never been to a corn shucking like that but have shucked my share of corn over the years and shelled my share too.
    I used to have a set of foxfire books but lost them when my house burned in 2011. I would love to win this one.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    November 15, 2019 at 7:19 am

    ONE MORE THING: I remember the corn shucks being used to make mattresses which, I think, were referred to as “shuck ticks”? The hard end was cut away from the shuck and the shucks were completely dried before inserting into the mattress.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    November 15, 2019 at 7:16 am

    Does anyone remember the sharpened wood stick with the leather strip attached that wrapped around the top of your hand? The device/tool was used to split the top of the shuck to make it easier to pull the shuck away from the ear of corn.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      November 15, 2019 at 10:12 am

      Sanford, I don’t remember those but I do remember the half glove made from leather with a hook on it to remove the ear of corn from the stalk.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 15, 2019 at 7:02 am

    I’ve never bee to a corn shucking unless You’d count sitting on the front porch and sucking a pile of corn with the whole family to be put up, canned or frozen, to eat in the winter. Putting up corn is a time consuming job but it sure pays off with good eatin in the winter!

  • Reply
    jaz
    November 15, 2019 at 6:24 am

    we called them corn roasts and it was my favorite event of the year. all of us kids shucked the corn for hours. then we got hot dogs, corn and cream sodas. such fun!

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