Monday, May 09, 2011

Q & A: Light a shuck

Q: At the end of the first chapter of Ride to Raton, Rod Owen tells his son James that until he can get free of his pride and anger, he should "light a shuck for someplace else." What does that mean?

A: In the days before electrification, once the sun went down, it got DARK. In the inky blackness of a moonless night, one couldn't travel much without a lantern or a light of some kind. If someone went visiting and forgot to take a lantern in case they were out past dark, they might be offered a twist of a dried corn shuck (husk) or two, which, when set afire, would provide enough light to get them on their way until their eyes could adjust to the darkness. The term "light a shuck" came to mean to leave one place for another, and also, to leave in a hurry, so as not to waste the light from the fast-burning corn shuck.

1 comment:

  1. I knew it meant leaving in a hurry but I had no idea why. That was very enlightening. Thanks.


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