They pulled the candy and laughed and frolicked

Posted by | November 8, 2017

You kin talk about y’r op’ras, y’r germans an’ all sich
Y’r afternoon r’ceptions an’ them pleasures o’ the rich
You kin feast upon y’r choc’lates an’ y’r creams an’ ices full
But none of ‘em is ekal to a good old candy pull.

For ther’ isn’t any perfume like the ‘lasses on the fire
A bubblin’ an’ a dancin’, as it keeps a risin’ higher
While the spoon goes stirrin’, stirrin’, till the kittle’s even full
No, I reely think ther’s nothin like a good old candy pull.

Then the exercise o’ pullin’, how it sets the cheeks aglow
While the tongue makes merry music as the hands move to and fro,
An’ with scarcely hidden laughter, the eyes are brimmin’ full
For the happiness is honest at a good old candy pull.

It’s true we miss the music an’ the ballroom’s crush an’ heat,
But ther’ isn’t any bitter that stays behind the sweet,
An’ I think the world’d be better, an’ its cup o’ joy more full
If we only had more pleasures like the good old candy pull.

The Candy Pull
By A. R. Luse

The sugar was boiling in the kettles, and while it boiled the boys and girls played “snap,” and “eleven hand,” and “thimble,” and “blindfold,” and another old play which some of our older people will remember:

“Oh! Sister Phœbe, how merry were we,
When we sat under the juniper tree—
The juniper tree-I-O.”

And when the sugar had boiled down into candy they emptied it into greased saucers, or as the mountain folks called them, “greased sassers,” and set it out to cool; and when it had cooled each boy and girl took a saucer; and they pulled the taffy out and patted it and rolled it till it hung well together; and then they pulled it out a foot long; they pulled it out a yard long; and they doubled it back, and pulled it out; and when it began to look like gold the sweethearts paired off and consolidated their taffy and pulled against each other.

mountain candy pullingThey pulled it out and doubled it back, and looped it over, and pulled it out; and sometimes a peachblow cheek touched a bronzed one; and sometimes a sweet little voice spluttered out; “you Jack;” and there was a suspicious smack like a cow pulling her foot out of stiff mud.

They pulled the candy and laughed and frolicked; the girls got taffy on their hair—the boys got taffy on their chins; the girls got taffy on their waists—the boys got taffy on their coat sleeves. They pulled it till it was as bright as a moonbeam, and then they platted it and coiled it into fantastic shapes and set it out in the crisp air to cool.

Then the courting in earnest began. They did not court then as the young folks court now. The young man led his sweetheart back into a dark corner and sat down by her, and held her hand for an hour, and never said a word. But it resulted next year in more cabins on the hillsides and in the hollows; and in the years that followed the cabins were full of candy-haired children who grew up into a race of the best, the bravest, and the noblest people the sun in heaven ever shone upon.

In the bright, bright hereafter, when all the joys of all the ages are gathered up and condensed into globules of transcendent ecstacy, I doubt whether there will be anything half so sweet as were the candy-smeared, ruby lips of the country maidens to the jeans-jacketed swains who tasted them at the candy-pulling in the happy long ago.

sources: Gov. Bob Taylor’s Tales, by Bob Taylor, DeLong & Rice, Nashville, 1896 online at

The Candy Pull, by A.B. Luse, Werner’s Readings and Recitations, No. 38, edited by Edgar S. Werner, Edgar S. Werner & Co, NY, 1907

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