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Thursday, October 24, 2013

… And to my Daughter, I Bequeath My Collection of Vintage Soap Slivers; or, I Prefer the Term “Practical”

Both my mother and my grandmother loved the chicken neck.

“Ooooh,” grandma said. “You’ll see.  You’ll learn to love it.”

“It sits in the juices,” mother said.  “It really is such a flavorful part of the bird.”

I remember blinking thoughtfully into their faces, the word “interesting” floating through my head.

Chicken necks.  Why I oughta…

And so here I am, decades later, a grown woman.  I am standing in the shower, rinsing off the saltiness of a good yoga work out, wondering if I should go for a new record in the no-reason-to-shave-my-legs competition I hold against myself every autumn, when I realize that I am holding a handful of soap slivers.

I remember the Guinness Book of World Records from my childhood, reading something about the stingiest woman in the world who had died with millions in the bank and yet caused her only son to lose a leg to gangrene because of her insistence that they find him free medical treatment.

She had kept a soap-sliver box.

I stare down at my handful of soap ends.

There’s a full bar down there in the soap dish, the one that Willie has been using.  Me?  For some reason, I have soap-slivers to finish.

Apparently, I feel those slivers have life in them yet. 

And I suddenly remember the supposed deliciousness of the home-cooked chicken neck.

Ahhh.  


Sometimes, it takes years before I understand the simplest things. 

40 comments:

Shelly said...

I found myself washing and reusing some plastic bags the other day. (They were the good ones.) I thought of Hettie Green and her soap sliver box. But you know, I'll bet old Hettie couldn't enjoy a good chicken neck.

Camille said...

My 93 year old Dad keeps reminding me I'll inherit his fabulous empty Cool Whip bowl collection when he goes. And there looks to be enough to share with many, many people. Hands...anyone?

Delores said...

You know those socks you throw out because one of them has a hole in the sole..(hey)...you save the sock with no hole and you fill it with soap slivers. Get the picture? Tie of the end of the sock that is supposed to have a hole in it and what do you have? Well..come on...what do you have?

ThreeOldKeys said...

Around my house, we say this a lot:

"there's a jar for that."

Simply Suthern said...

I cant count the times that soap slivers have reminded me of chicken necks. Well now prolly in the near future it'll be larger than zero.

I've never eaten a chicken neck. I usually head for the less tasty extremities like legs and wings. Buffalo WIngs? Minneapolis Necks? The next craze?

smalltownme said...

I have childhood nightmares about chicken necks, so I will pass.

vanilla said...

I guess I truly believed that Mama loved the chicken neck, little thinking of the sacrifice she made for her family. I did know, though, that I was never ever under any circumstances to use the hatchet to kill the chicken.

Pearl said...

I rather like the idea that there's a jar -- and a sock -- for that.

You people are funny. :-)

Daisy said...

Chicken necks ARE tasty and juicy. You heard it right here at Pearl's so it's gotta be true.

joeh said...

A good post always gets good comments.

Jeanie said...

My grandmother also liked chicken necks and some other part called gizzards. Chances are she was also a soap sliver saver.

jenny_o said...

There is a technique to saving slivers that satisfies the Depression soul yet doesn't smack of meanness. You must MELD the sliver to the new bar, encourage it to become ONE with the new bar, BE the new bar ... and in two, three showers, tops, it IS the new bar.

Or you could fling those slivers into the waste basket and quickly cover them with TP.

Daisy said...

My dad would eat the chicken neck and the gizzards! I never saw how anyone could do that, personally. I use liquid soap instead of bars too. I'm just a rebel, I guess. :D

fishducky said...

I love the gizzards (but not the necks)!! Several years ago, you used to be able to buy them at KFC.

Buttons said...

We can Flip a coin for the chicken neck:) B

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

I remember - barely - in the 60s, in our Girl Scout Uniforms, going door to door collecting soap - new preferably, but would take used. I think the boys in Vietnam were soapless and we were boxing up all the soap we could find. That was a "blast from the past"!!

Joanne Noragon said...

I had to do this once, and I'll bet you did, too. Now it's just plain liberating to wing them into the waste basket.

Elephant's Child said...

Were you peeking into our shower? I use the slivers, the skinny one gets a new soap. And I follow jenny_o's practice and try and meld them to the new bar. Cheap? Who me?

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

A child of the Great Depression, my mother passed along similar habits. I try to meld soap slivers together, but we use hard-milled soap that doesn't break down easily. And I haven't seen a chicken neck in years.

bill lisleman said...

Nothing like a good hot shower to loosen up blog ideas. Back when I traveled for work, I had a great collection of hotel soap bars and shampoo bottles. I got in trouble just this week for throwing a twice used plastic container (obtained at a restaurant) in the recycling bin.
There are limits.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

This was brilliant. You make me all teary sometimes.

Gigi said...

You've just caused me to have a flashback to last week when I found myself pouring that tiny amount of hair product into a new bottle of the same, of which I had just used enough, to ensure room for the old.

Now, how confusing was THAT sentence? Surely, as a soap sliver user, you understood though...right?

Mildred Ratched said...

The older we get, the smarter our mothers become.

sage said...

My grandma use to save turkey necks, boil the bones out and then dye them different colors and have them on hand for us to make "Indian necklaces" Today, I'm sure that would be politically incorrect.

jeanie said...

I will see your soap slivers and raise you used dental floss...

Apparently, some tight buzzard once told my father that he had saved over a million bucks that way - and so my father took the advice of some tight buzzard over the good sense of his wife and children and would wash and dry his floss out for reuse.

It is completely our fault that he never got rich, throwing out all that dental floss with good use left in it.

jeanie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kymbo Whitford said...

I put all those odd bits of soap in an old sock (I know you've got lots of them)and tie it to the outside taps. When you need a handwash in the garden you turn on the tap, wet the sock and lather up, after use it hangs there and drys all by itself...

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
...what Jenny-O said...and Kymbo...

Oh look, you just tapped into the need to preserve in us all. That's a good thing. Mostly. I draw the line at used dental floss.

YAM xx

River said...

I've never eaten a chicken neck in my life, I like what I call the "hips", two tiny morsels of sweet dark meat. I've saved many a sliver in my time, softening them in warm water, then smooshing them together until well melded and shaping into a bar before leaving to dry in the sun.
@gigi -understood you perfectly, I do the same thing.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Oh, I dod that soap sliver thing, as well. But, sorry, no matter what your and my mothers and grandmothers said, can't do those chicken necks!

Mitchell is Moving said...
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Indigo Roth said...

Poignant and gently enlightening, something I never quite pull off. I bow to you, author x

Z said...

I used to save soap slivers and managed to kick the habit. Now, I find myself thinking ooh, that putting soap slivers in a sock is a good idea, I never thought of that. I suspect I'm back to square one.

Linda O'Connell said...

If they fail to adhere to the new bar of soap, I accidentally drop them into the drain, so I don't have to deal with them.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Slivers and chicken necks. Now I've heard it all!!! You continue to pull out all the stops on this one. I don't think I'd like to try your chicken necks tho, thinking they'll be a bit soapy.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Now...Delores has an idea!!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, as much as we try to avoid it, the inevitable happens. We become THEM!!!
I thought I was the only one having the 'lets see how long we can go without shaving our legs' contest!

Pearl said...

I am absolutely loving the soap-in-a-sock thing, especially hanging it out by the garden tap...

Seriously. What a great idea!

And Gigi, I understood every word. :-)

Diane Tolley said...

My Mom always took the chicken neck! I have a solution to the soap-sliver conundrum.
No soap!
Yeah, my neighbours and the people I sit next to in church don't get it, either...

Jono said...

My wife's grandmother had a box in her kitchen junk drawer labelled, "String-too short to use."