The Book of Too Late Changes

Book of Too Late Changes
Category: Commentaries
  • The Return

“The Book of Too Late Changes” by Cotton Mather

Mama Sugarly’s Yum-Yum

buttermilk base

one tablespoon turtle food

two tablespoons tobacco

one teaspoon folgers instant coffee

spoonful deviled ham

leftover green beans

black pepper

one chunk of gainesburger

gerbil food to taste

white pepper

a few wheat thins

one tablespoon nine lives

some pickle juice

prune juice

1/4 cup canned corn giblets



more prune juice


in ancient times when rock gods roamed the earth in eleven garb and took stage under cover of fog, my brother ruled our roost with dark mischief, while sugarly, a drooling, dopey, one- eyed st.  bernard giantess, patrolled the neighborhood leaving cow-pat traps in her wake to detonate all over our hush puppies. hubris was a punishable offense in my brother’s kingdom. should an impulsive boast pass our lips in error he would confer upon us a “medal”, and sarcastically wracked on his mental abacus. i-  was highly decorated.


one blazing alabama afternoon i confessed that the weight of my theoretical shame jacket had become too much to bear and pled whatever might i do to rid myself of all this and start anew. his chief counsellors dewey english and bushy french (real names) were summoned, a discussion ensued, cabinet doors began to fly open, and a blender produced along with- ingredients. someone said, “don’t over blend, it’s gotta be chunky”…”add ketchup and fritos”, “more prune juice….”. and at last the grey slop was delivered into a twelve ounce glass, placed before me, and dubbed “mama sugarly’s yum-yum. then to the amazement of all present, I downed it.


we used to capsize the johnson’s canoe on lake martin and swim up under it, calvin and i. we’d hoist ourselves up into the air pocket, tell jokes, make nonsense. and that next day when we did i began to sing- nonsensically, incessantly, effortlessly one little spontaneous tune after another, then all day while we fished and played off the dock. when mr. johnson called us in at sundown, and we were dragging the canoe ashore up the muddy bank, calvin grabbed my arm and asked me, “how are you doing that”? “what, oh i don’t know”? then he looked at me wide-eyed and said, “it’s the yum-yum”!


so you see i had to tell you this story because i’ll be needing my medals back and i’m out to earn some more. for I feel the power of that old piney woods elixir stirring again. go tell my brother, dewey, bushey, aunt rhodey, and the rest, that by the power vested in me by mama sugarly’s yum-yum, i declare cotton mather risen, rehydrated, resuscitated and reconstituted. removed from the registries of DOA and MIA, and reclassified under ADD and UFO. and should you like what follows you might just want to give it a try yourself. i’ve given you the secret. it’s an old family recipe.

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