Ice Cream Sunday

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90 percent of the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” With this in mind I thought I’d talk just a bit about ice cream and its history.

Did you know…

ice cream, making,familyEach American consumes a yearly average of 23.2 quarts of ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, ices and other commercially produced frozen dairy products.

The Northern Central states have the highest per capita consumption of ice cream at 41.7 quarts.

More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.

Ice cream and related frozen desserts are consumed by more than 90 percent of households in the United States.  Continue reading “Ice Cream Sunday”

Wayback Whensday: Bush Brothers & Company

It is Way Back Whensday and so I’ve gone digging through the annals of history (or at least my articles index) to find something of historic significance that may also prove entertaining for you. Here is the story of a local agricultural company with deep roots.

These days a lot of large, industrial companies take it on the chin for their lack of concern over ecologic and community issues.  Bush Brothers & Company, headquartered in Knoxville TN with processing plants in Chestnut Hill Tennessee and Augusta Wisconsin is not one of those.  But that’s not surprising given the values and community concern of the company’s founder.

A History of Bush Brothers & Company

In 1867 Andrew Jackson “A.J.” Bush was born in the community of Chestnut Hill Tennessee, where he lived for most of his life, leaving only to receive a college education at nearby Carson-Newman College.

In 1891 A.J. married Sallie and they rapidly produced 6 children; four boys and two girls.  Both A.J. and Sallie had a deep interest in their community and love for their family.  In addition to being a mother of 6, Sallie acted as a midwife and nursemaid as well as training young girls the fine art of proper household management.  A.J. had been a school teacher since graduating college, and was elected to the local school board.

Bush Brothers, Bush Bros., beansA.J. was always looking for ways to help his community and had developed an interest in the trade business.  He decided to serve both interests by creating the A.J. Bush & Company General Store, which provided a convenient location for local residents to barter for goods that were not locally produced, as well as a training ground and legacy for his children to insure they would have a livelihood when grown. Continue reading “Wayback Whensday: Bush Brothers & Company”

The Real History of Hill Folk and the Hillbilly Image

NOTE: This article was originally published elsewhere, but my copyright obligation there has been fulfilled and since it is one of my favorite articles – I’ve posted it here.  If it looks familiar to some of you; you may have seen it before. 

Hillbillies in Popular Fiction

When people encounter the term “Hillbilly” they often think of characters such as Snuffy Smith. Hillbillies are often characterized as shiftless, lazy, shine-running, hicks who live in such isolation they’re out of step with the world. A lot of this impression comes from popular cartoon strips.

Although the Appalachian mountain people had been living in these mountains since the 1700’s, it wasn’t until the early-to-mid 1930s that they become popular in American entertainment. In comic strips, Joe Palooka did an extended sequence about a mountain man named Big Leviticus in 1933; and in ’34 the author of that sequence, Al Capp, started his most famous work, Li’l Abner. And Billy DeBeck was heavily researching Appalachian culture in preparation of introducing a new character to his Barney Google strip – and a major change in the direction of his work: Snuffy Smith.[1]

The origins of the term “hillbilly” are obscure. According to Anthony Harkins in Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon , the term first appeared in print in a 1900 New York Journal article, with the definition: “a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him.” Continue reading “The Real History of Hill Folk and the Hillbilly Image”