Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ah, Moonshine!

My faith in the American Way has been restored -- the moonshine business is still going strong and even growing as recently reported in my newspaper. Now, I don't claim to have tried moonshine, though concoctions we made in college may have been similar. But the fine art of turning grain into alcohol will never die. In some rural parts of this country generations of moonshiners and law officers have lived side by side knowing full well what each other did to pay the rent. I would hazard to guess that most NASCAR drivers can claim kin who were moonshiners. Those ole boys really knew how to drive! They souped-up old cars with huge trunks to carry their "produce" to market and to quickly dodge the law when it came sniffin' around. In the mid-1970s I visited a friend who taught school in rural West Virginia. Though I was there for just 3 days, I learned some important lessons: 1) do not fly over the mountains in a puddle jumper in March -- had to skip two of four scheduled stops because of the wind; 2) don't make eye contact with men walking in the road with burlap bags and rifles slung over their shoulders; 3) torrential rains totally eliminate the effectiveness of a septic field; 4) I don't ever want to live in the back woods. Now, don't take me wrong; West Virginia is a beautiful state with scenery second to none. It's just that, back then anyway, there were certain rules and customs to be observed. If you were not wearing over-alls and a flannel shirt, you did NOT want to go into the local grocery store for something to drink -- usually Dr. Pepper. Can't say these rules don't still apply, but if you're planning to go anywhere but a big city, leave the designer duds at home. As for the moonshiners, I can only hope they're not distilling their brews in old car radiators as some used to do cuz anti-freeze can kill ya! Otherwise, bottoms up!

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