THE BUSINESS OF THE LICK-LOG
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
“It is time to come to the lick-log about this!” One may very well hear this expression in the South. It is quite old, but since it is used in varying contexts, one may wonder just what is meant by the term “lick-log.”
Dictionaries usually give two or three main definitions to cover the main ideas of it. Primarily it denotes a salt-lick, one framed in a log or felled tree which keepers set up for the convenience of cattle.
When growing up in the country community of Jenny Lind, Arkansas, there were usually two or three animals in the pasture. One would be a milk cow, and perhaps a calf or two, and a work horse. Dad always had a large salt block on a post about animal head high. There would be indentations in several areas of the block where the farm animals would occasionally lick it to acquire their needed salt. Of course I could never pass that salt block without taking a lick or two myself. So in that context coming to the lick log meant satisfying a basic craving; hence, resolution of the same.
Some cattlemen who were ethically challenged would feed their cattle lots of salt in their regular feeding times to get them to drink as much water as possible just before sale time. A few more pounds per head meant a fatter check.
In other contexts, “lick-log” is used in legal jargon to indicate the real reason or motive for actions. It has also been employed to mean standing firm or one’s ground. If one is negotiating a decision or a settlement of an issue, “down to the lick- log may mean “close to a resolution.” The term is used to indicate a finality in getting to the truth among so many untruths. In matters of time “Lick-log” may indicate the last second.
In eternal verities that affect the never-dying soul, it must be recognized that all men are sinful mortals, and life on earth indefinite. Moreover there are many ways that appear to be right for a man, but the end are the ways of death. However, there is one way of life, truth, blessings, peace, and that way is Jesus, John 14:6. Furthermore, He forthrightly said, “…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Allowing this information to sink in, and reside as the ultimate truth is coming to the “lick-log,” set for one’s eternal good by the Creator.