The little boy standing with his big sister grew up to be a pillar of his southern community, a deacon of the church and a model of rectitude.
    Nobody knew he was a secret drinker.
    And then, in the fullness of old age, his wife died. He was failing too, and found it hard to get around. His big sister was gone and couldn't take care of him any more, so her daughter took over.
    She thought it was odd that her uncle always smelled of vanilla extract. His wife had been a baker, and there was a lot of it around the house. Until there wasn't any more. By this time he was no longer mobile, and the niece hired a nurse.
    This woman was savvy. When her trucker husband was away, she made her own alarm system by wiring the front doorknob to an electrical outlet. And as she noticed the old man's increasing distress, she figured it out. She asked where he'd been obtaining his liquor on the sly, and he told her where to get the best moonshine in the county. With the niece's agreement, she measured him out a little tot every day. The old man died happy.
    And his niece still has the rest of the last bottle. It smells pretty good, but I never did taste it.

N.B. I heard this story a while ago, so if CJH reads this, please correct!


CJH said...

Well done Claudia!!! I love your story. Extremely close to perfect detail . I would only add that he never became totally bedridden... chair ridden was his thing...perhaps that daily tot measure was therapeutic??
Every person should be so lucky to find "savvy nurse".

Alabama gal said...

I had some moonshine last night. It was lovely.

Anonymous said...

"Good ole mountain dew, them that refuse it are few..."


Thanks for the little Uncle Ralph tribute. I am just imagining trying to explain to him about the "internet" and the whole "blog" thing.

Dianne said...

Did you ever taste YOUR Ozarks moonshine? I'm sure you didn't throw it out during the massive house cleaning project.

Claudia said...

I cannot tell a lie: I did throw my Ozarks moonshine out. It was part of an "Ozark Continental Breakfast" given me by a friend—scone, homemade jam, teabag and moonshine made from chicken scratch bought down to French's Feed Store. It tasted like gasoline, though, so after the cap rusted to the Mason's jar I finally, um, shined it on.

cba said...

In the light of what I've read and heard today I think this fellow had the right idea.

Drink your way through life.

According to Glenn Close, who appears in some ad on Hulu encouraging us to be more sympathetic to the mentally ill, ONE IN EVERY SIX Ameicans, across the board, suffers from some form of mental illness.

According to a 2007 CDC report, 99,000 people in the U.S. die annually from hospital acquired infections. According to The Institute of Medicine, another 100,000 deaths occur annually as a result of health care harm.

According to Dennis Quaid, who now spearheads an organization to encourage hospitals to prevent medical mistakes, the number of lives currently lost annually to carelessness in our country is " equivalent to 20 airliners full of passengers going down every week."

I say, pass the moonshine. We bounce better loaded.

cba said...

Medical carelessness, that is.

Not leaving a roller skate in Uncle Ned's path.

Bo said...

The Clear and the Free

a drink so considerate
to let sun shine thru
I'll get in on it
be gone the blues


CJH said...

Uncle gave me the "germ talk" on numerous occasions. He believed one could be "too clean and too germ conscious"....he said one needed "to develop immunities" and being fearful of germs prevented that...in fact it "opened the doorway to ill health ." Must have been something to that as he lived to be 89, never had a cavity , didn't need eyeglasses and remained totally sharp witted till the end. Also could count on fingers of one hand the number of required "DR. visits" of his lifetime. I agree with cba...I think he had it right.

la cba said...

So true!

And when I was in Mexico, even though I ate at the mercadoes and even drank the tap water, I never got tourista. I owed it all to the salubrious and anti-bacterial effects of grain alcohol.


Claudia said...

You are gonna be in some trouble with some of your friends.

cba said...

Oui, je sais.

Mais, tant pis. My Post horoscope today said to be creative.

neruda said...

well creative is one thing and ending up on the floor is another....as it says somewhere all things in moderation....seems to work for most...too bad moderation is so darn tricky

Claudia said...

Unless you're immobile and have a nurse to measure out your tot.