It was early January, 1946 in Texas. I had been in the military just a few days. It was Sunday, the only day we were off.
Some guys from the next barracks challenged us to a basketball game. This was my game, and I was pretty good at it. Both teams had on fatigues, our work uniforms. We were beating the other team by 20- some points.
One of the other team’s young men was jawing with me, and said he was from West Virginia. I told him I was from the beautiful mountains of Kentucky. He wanted to know if I wanted some snuff. I knew some folks back home that chewed that stuff, and trying to be nice to him, I said sure, I’ll try it.
I put a small pinch in my mouth. A short time later I went up for an easy goal and had my mouth open. At the top of my leap I swallowed most of the snuff.
I threw up the lunch I had just eaten, and I was a sick puppy. Needless to say, I never tried snuff again in my lifetime.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)