short note: black strap molasses

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 28 01:14:03 UTC 2011

A turn-row can be the end of one row and the beginning of an adjacent
row, which may or may not be planted with the same crop, at the same

Think of aisles in a theater or a stadium.


On Fri, May 27, 2011 at 8:31 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: short note: black strap molasses
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Fri, May 27, 2011 at 9:06 AM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
>> "sorghum"--the latter, the source of "blackstrap molassas," being _considered *inferior* to "ribbon cane,"_ the source of "ribbon cane syrup."
> That could be why, in my hyper-boojie, family, we didn't do molasses.
> Texas Bluesman, Mercedes "Mercy Dee Walton, in his song, Sharecropper
> Blues/So Many Turn-rows/Dark, Muddy Bottom, sings:
> I've walked down so many turn-rows,
> I can see them all in my sleep
> Sharecropping in this dark, muddy bottom,
> With nothing but hardtack and _sorghums_ to eat
> Perhaps the reason for the unexpected plural is, molasses X sorghum =
> sorghums. I.e., for him, _molasses_ is plural.
> OED:
> Â turn-row n. the space at the side of a field in which the horses
> turn in ploughing, used as a path (U.S.).
> 1885    ‘C. E. Craddock’ Prophet Great Smokey Mts. 3   A young
> manā€„came to a meditative halt in the *turn-row.
> 1888 Â  Â Atlantic Monthly May 677/1 Â  All adown the *turn-row between
> the ranks of corn.
> And yet, I *still* can't feature WTF a _turn-row_ is! If a turn-row is
> _at the side_, how can it, at the same time, be _between_? Quantum
> agriculture? My vote is for _between_. Granddaddy truck-farmed as a
> hobby and I, on many an occasion, walked all adown the space between
> the ranks of corn and, from time to time, came to a meditative halt
> therein.
> Wikipedia:
> In agriculture, a [turn-row] is the area at each end of a planted
> field. It is used for turning around with farm implements during field
> operations and is the first area to be harvested to minimize crop
> damage. The rows run perpendicular to the lay of the field and are
> usually two, three or four times the width of the implement used for
> planting the field.
> I still don't get it. I'm an embarrassment to my California-Aggie
> heritage, I reckon.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
> to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list