Sipping Cider Through a Straw

Here's an interesting one with quite a pedigree. I THINK the tune is the same as The Princess Pat and The Other Day I Met A Bear. It's often sung in call-and-response form.

The cutest boy
I ever saw
was sipping ci-
der through a straw
I asked him if
he'd teach me how
to sip some ci-
der through a straw
he said of course
he'd teach me how
to sip some ci-
der through a straw
so cheek to cheeck
and jaw to jaw
we both sipped ci-
der through a straw
that's how I got
my mother-in-law
and forty-nine kids
who call me 'ma.'


The origin of the song is a bit fuzzy. It (or one of the same title) was copyrighted in 1919, but seems to be older than that (the first line, with genders reversed, has been appearing in print since at least 1905, and in the 1920s Carl Sandburg published it in "AMerican Songbag," indicating that he'd learned it from adults who had learned it as kids). It seems to have originally been published as a jazz/parlor song. I haven't dug up many early versions, though I think the genders were usually reversed in the parlor song days, making it a warning to guys not to let the cutest girl you ever saw get too close.

A lot changes in the song when you just change the genders around, which is how the song caught on in camps and schools and playgrounds. Many variations go around. Sometimes their jaw will slip, so they're sipping cider lip-to-lip. In some it turns out that the cider was really beer, making the guy into some kind of date rapist.

But it's certainly evolved into part of the grand tradition of "Never Trust Guys" songs that goes back centuries. Nowadays a warning against sharing a drink with a boy seems charmingly prudish, but I suppose you can also take it as a warning for girls not to be The Fruit Cup Girl (the girl found in every cafeteria who tries to get her crush's attention by pathetically pretending she needs help opening her fruit cup).

At least this one ends somewhat humorously. If you go back to the old folk songs like "Banks of the Ohio," "Pretty Polly," "Naomi Wise," and all of those, there are plenty where the consequence of trusting guys is being led out into the woods to be murdered.

Kay Shapero collected several variations:
Contributed by Elspeth Naime:

The cutest boy
I ever saw
Was sipping ci-
Der through a straw

I asked him if
He'd show me how
To sip some ci-
Der through a straw (*)

First cheek to cheek
Then hip to hip
Soon we were si-
Pping lip to lip

That's how I got
My mother-in-law
And twenty-nine kids
Who call me "Ma"

The moral of
The story is
Don't sip your ci-
Der through a straw (*)


The verses marked with (*) obviously don't QUITE fit the pattern -- but they are "right" in so far as that's how I've always heard them. Whatever the original might have been, I think it's already been 'filked' by generations of kids... !

Alternate ending
Contributed by Kay Shapero

"The moral of
this story is
We don't sip ci-
der, we sip fizz
The moral of
this story is
We don't sip ci-
der we sip (stop singing, go to chanting LOUDLY)
Good Old Fashioned Root Beer!
Same Old Stuff As Last Year!
Going On Its Fifth Year!
Don't you wish we'd stop here!"
(at this point everyone else around would yell YES!)

And I've also heard it as:

The moral is
You little dopes
We don't sip ci-
der we sip Cokes.
The moral is you little dears
We don't sip cider we sip --

Followed by the Good Old Fashioned Root Beer chant as above.

From Ziza:

The cutest boy
I ever saw
Was sipping spi-
Ders through a skull

From Laura Ross:

The cutest boy (The cutest boy)
I ever saw (I ever saw)
Was sipping ci- (Was sipping ci-)
Der through a straw (Der through a straw)
The cutest boy I ever sa-a-aw
Was sipping cider through a stra-a-aw

I asked him if (I asked him if)
He'd show me how (He'd show me how)
To sip some ci- (To sip some ci-)
Der through a straw (Der through a straw)
I asked him if he'd show me ho-o-ow
To sip some cider through a stra-a-aw

He said of course (He said of course)
He'd show me how (He'd show me how)
To sip some ci- (to sip some ci-)
der through a straw (Der through a straw)
He said of course he'd show me ho-o-ow
To sip some cider through a stra-a-aw

So cheek to cheek (So cheek to cheek)
And jaw to jaw (And jaw to jaw)
We sipped that ci- (We sipped that ci-)
Der through a straw (Der through a straw)
So cheek to cheek and jaw to ja-a-aw
We sipped that cider through a stra-a-aw

And now and then (And now and then)
That straw would slip (That straw would slip)
And we'd sip ci- (And we'd sip ci-)
Der lip to lip (Der lip to lip)
And now and then that straw would sli-i-ip
And we'd slip cider lip to li-i-ip

And now I have (And now I have)
A mother-in-law (A mother-in-law)
And forty-eight kids (And forty-eight kids)
All call me Ma (All call me Ma)
And now I have a mother-in-la-a-aw
And forty-eight kids all call me Ma-a-a

The moral of (The moral of)
This story is (This story is)
When you sip ci- (when you sip ci-)
Der, you sip beer (Der, you sip beer)
The moral of this story i-i-is
When you sip cider, you sip bee-ee-eer

Drink milk!

8 comments:

  1. An additional version with a bit modern twist of sorts (the text fits best if led by a boy, however you can modify it to fit a girl just as easily). Learned this one from my little sister when we were growing up... makes you wonder where she was hanging out on the weekends ;-) I sing this for the folks in Sweden when ever I'm invited to weddings, bachelor parties and such - Fits perfectly!!

    The cutest girl (The cutest girl)
    I ever saw (I ever saw)
    Was sipping Ci (Was sipping Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (Clear thru a straw)
    (All together): The cutest girl I ever sa-a-aw
    Was sipping ci-de-ide-ider through a straw.

    I asked her if (I asked her if)
    She'd show me how (She'd show me how)
    To sip some Ci (To sip some Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (Clear thru a straw)
    (All together):I asked her if she'd show me ho-o-ow to sip some ci-de-ide-ider through a straw.

    She said she would (She said she would)
    She'd show me how (She'd show me how)
    To sip some Ci (to sip some Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (Clear thru a straw)
    (All together): She said she would she'd show me ho-o-ow to sip some ci-de-ide-ider through a straw.

    So then cheek to cheek (So then cheek to cheek)
    And jaw to jaw (And jaw to jaw)
    We both sipped Ci (We both sipped Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (Clear thru a straw)
    (All together): So cheek to cheek and jaw to ja-a-aw we both sipped ci-de-ide-ider through a straw.

    I asked her if (I asked her if)
    She'd marry me (she'd marry me)
    While sippn Ci (while sippn Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (Clear thru a straw)
    (All together): I asked her if she'd marry me-e-e while sipping ci-de-ide-ider through a straw.

    She said she would (She said she would)
    She'd marry me (She'd marry me)
    While sippn Ci (While sippin Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (Clear thru a straw)
    (All together): She said she would, she'd marry me-e-e while sippn ci-de-ide-ider through a straw!

    Now 29 kids (now 29 kids)
    All call me Pa (all call me Pa)
    While sippn Ci (while sippn Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (clear thru a straw)
    (All together): Now 29 kids all call me Pa-a-ah while sippn ci-de-ide-ider through a straw!

    The moral of (the moral of)
    This story is (this story is)
    Don't never sip Ci (don't never sip Ci)
    Clear thru a straw (clear thru a straw)
    (All together): The moral of this story i-i-is don't never sip ci-de-ide-ider through a straw...
    And then the song host immediately shouts out:
    DRINK BEER!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I learned this song in my Girl Scout troop in the '90s, Sacramento, CA area. I can't for the life of me remember how it ended, but I don't remember ever learning the part about the kids and a ma. Either we had another ending or we ended it before that bit, if I'm remembering it right.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We sang a part of this song when I was growing up in the 60s. No idea where we heard it. Our lyrics were "15 kids called me Pa coz I sucked cider through a straw." this was in central Mississippi. My ultr religious mom objected to our singing. That made us sing it more. We ende it with daw daw daw.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nanjing Jieyang Machinery straw making machines is a professional Drinking Straw Production Machines manufacturer, which integrates R&D, production, sales and service, with customer first folding spoons as the philosophy of its service. In the pursuit of continuous improvement and development, it endeavors to provide more refined products and more considerate service to its existing and newly-developed customers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The cutest boy I ever saw, was sipping Ci-der through a straw. The cutest boy I ever sawww. . .
    I asked him if he'd show my how to sip some Ci-der through a straw. . .
    So cheek to cheek and jaw to jaw, we sipped some Ci-der though a straw. . . .
    But once in a while, that straw would sip. I sipped some Ci-der through his lips. . .
    Now 49 kids all call me Ma, from sipping Ci-der through a straw. . .

    Maryland, around 1960

    ReplyDelete
  6. So here's te version I grew up singin in the car with my family....

    Every line is repeated

    The cutest boy
    I ever saw
    Was sipping cider though a straw
    The cutest boy I ever saw was sipping cider through a straw

    I asked him if
    He'd show me how
    To sip that cider through a straw
    I asked him if he'd show me how to sip that cider through a straw

    And so he did
    He showed me how
    To sip that cider through a straw
    And so he did he showed me how to sip that cider through a straw

    And as we sipped
    That straw did slip
    And we were sipping lip to lip
    And as we sipped that straw did slip and we were sipping lip to lip

    That's how I got
    A mother in law
    And 16 kids who call me "ma"
    Thus how I got a mother in law and 16 kids who call me "ma"

    The moral of
    This story is
    Don't sip that cider through a straw
    The moral of this story is don't sip that coder through a straw

    SIP MILK!

    ReplyDelete
  7. When I was at summer camp in Southern California in the early 1960s, we sang a version of the song that ended like this (with the usual call-and-response repetition):

    The moral is, my little dopes
    Don't sip your cider, you sip Cokes.
    The moral is, my little dears
    Don't sip your cider, you sip
    (Shouted loudly) Dad's Old-Fashioned Root Beer!
    Same old crap as last year!

    In the presence of adults, we'd substitute "junk" for "crap". That last part is a complete non sequitur, but we thought it was funny.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The military has two variants of this that are used as marching cadences; "The Prettiest Girl I Ever Saw" and "Little Bird on a Windowsill".

    "Prettiest Girl I Ever Saw":

    The prettiest girl I ever saw
    Was sippin' bourbon through a straw
    Her hair was blond
    Her eyes were green
    The prettiest girl I ever seen

    So I walked right up
    I sat right down
    And then I bought
    Another round

    I placed my hand
    Upon her knee
    She said GI
    You're teasing me

    I placed my hand
    Upon her thigh
    She said GI
    Don't go to high

    The wedding was
    A beautiful one
    Her father had
    A big shotgun

    Now I have
    A mother in law
    And fourteen kids
    Who call me Pa

    The moral of
    The story here
    Instead of bourbon
    Stick with beer


    "Little Bird on a Windowsill":

    A little bird (sometimes yellow bird)
    With a yellow bill
    Was sitting on
    My windowsill

    I coaxed him in
    With a piece of bread
    And then crushed (or stomped)
    His fucking head!

    The moral of
    the story is clear!
    You want some head,
    You need some bread!


    Sometimes these are both sung together with "Little Bird" following "Prettiest Girl". Prettiest Girl is often sung when formations are marching through areas where prudish people might overhear, and Little Bird is generally sung when there are no prudes around. As a dirty cadence, it's considered to be in bad taste to sing around women.

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE tell us where and when you heard your version (ie, "Chicago, early 1950s). And please be aware that the information may end up in a book sooner or later.