Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer, or stubbed your toe, and a few choice words slip unbridled from your tongue, in front of a child? Then, unexpectedly, the child uses those same words while playing. My mother-in-law used to say, "Little pitchers have big ears." It's so easy for us to pass on things to little ones because they are watching us and learning from us.
Daddy smoked most of the first ten years of my life, and although I didn't grow up to be a smoker, I probably could have, for I like the smell of tobacco. I don't ever remember Daddy smoking bought cigarettes; most men we knew "rolled" their own. And that is what I learned from watching; I think today, if I had the materials for a cigarette, I could roll one.
Men wore bib overalls, Big Smith being the favorite brand, and inside the bib pockets they carried either a little cloth sack of tobacco or a tin of tobacco, matches, and a packet of thin, tissue papers.
To roll the cigarette, he would take out one tissue and cradle it between his left thumb and the next two fingers. If the tobacco was in a little cloth bag, he would take it from the bib, catch a corner of the top of the bag in his teeth, open the bag and carefully pour out the right amount of tobacco into the tissue, catch the drawstring of the bag with his teeth, pull it shut, then put the bag back into the pocket. Then he carefully rolled the tissue around the tobacco, licked the tissue to seal it, put the cigarette into his mouth, and lit it with a match. (Of course, filling the tissue from a tin would have been much easier.) Now if he happened to be with a friend who had no tobacco, but wanted to smoke, the friend might say, "Can I bum a cigarette?"
Daddy has told us several times how he stopped smoking: "I had the flu; one morning I rolled my cigarette and sat down by the heater. When I put the cigarette in my mouth, it didn't taste good, so I threw it in the heater, and never smoked again!"
Hopefully we can be good examples to those little ones who learn from us.