Thanksgiving & My Father’s Favorite Poem

can-i-give-my-baby-evaporated-milk This is the time of year when folks use sweetened condensed milk for pumpkin pie, peanut butter fudge, and many other holiday treats. Every time I see those cans advertised, I am reminded of my father’s favorite poem.

My father worked on farms for most of his life, including two summers during high school on a Pennsylvania dairy farm.  He was proud that he had “improved” the farm’s operation by starting the milking half an hour earlier at 4:30 a.m.  I was always mystified why he thought that was a virtue, since I am a sloth until sunrise.  Maybe he read Ben Franklin’s autobiography once too often (“early to rise makes a man…).  But his experience dodging cow hooves before daylight gave him a healthy appreciation for the alternative.

He often told folks about how the Carnation Milk company sponsored a contest in 1946 for a jingle for their evaporated milk.  The winning entry purportedly came from a Nebraska farm wife:

Carnation milk, best in the land.
Comes to the table in a little red can.
No teats to pull, no shit to pitch.
Just punch a hole in the sonofabitch.

Here’s one version of how the jingle came to be written. (Several different versions of the jingle are floating around the Internet.) And here is the page casting doubt on the story. But it made a great story regardless and my father always grinned ear to ear when he recited the jingle.

carnation enhanced-buzz-10233-1334082455-60



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6 Responses to Thanksgiving & My Father’s Favorite Poem

  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Wait – you now have a category “no teats to pull?” You’re expecting more posts with that as part of the theme???

  2. Jim December 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    My resolution for 2015 is to write more on dairy policy.

    • The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 1, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      You already wrote “no teats to pull.” Isn’t that pretty much your entire dairy policy right there?* What’s left to write?

      *it was certainly MY dairy policy when I went to visit my great-uncle’s dairy farm….

  3. Jim December 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Actually, that was part of the official sexual harassment policy when I attended Virginia Tech sporadically in the mid-late 1970s.

  4. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 1, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    What have I told you about “read the fine print?” That was in the section describing MALES. Back in The Day before that whole metrosexual – or, now, lumbersexual – craze. If there were teats, or the prospective student even ACTED like “he” had teats, then he got shipped to one of those schools Further South in order to improve his testosterone levels.

  5. Jim December 1, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    One thing I liked about Va. Tech is that they never had fine print.

    Well, except for that Creative Writing class where the professor hated me.


    Is this an Oregon thing or what???