Opinion Columns & Blogs

The case of the mystery moonshine

I don’t know about you, but nothing says Merry Christmas more to me than being left a big ol’ mason jar of peach ‘clear’ on my front deck, along with instructions scrawled on cardboard, “BE CAREFULL.”

Another reason not to cut education funding.

But I love it, I do, and after receiving this paint thinner, of which one friend remarked, “drink that and you’ll learn exactly how long your esophagus is,” I’m dying to know who left it. This year, as I’ve had a critter cam set up since early fall (I promise I’ll buy one of my own, Jay), I thought, with an air of triumph, “Gotcha!” and ran to pull out the chip and insert into my laptop to see which of my neighbors has their own bootlegging connections. Well, actually, pretty much all of them do. In fact, one's mamma used to throw a 50-pound sack of corn over her shoulder and stomp to the top of Glassy Mountain and it is a great source of family pride that she could make shine every bit as well as the boys.

That kind of made me jealous, feeling the odd one out, as my parentage is English and German, but I will tell you that my German grandfather used to travel to Mexico, cross the Rio Grande and run liquor during prohibition days, for Dutch Schultz, before taking his earnings and returning to Bavaria where he opened a successful brewery. So, if you think about it, in a way, I’m a direct descendant of an illegal, drug-running (sort of), immigrant from Mexico, but I’ve yet to have anyone ask me for my green card, which is odd.

Anyway, rubbing my hands together like a squirrel, I eagerly pulled up the critter cam images to find my culprit. Nothing. Just Freddy the fox, whom I’m always glad to see with his now resplendent, bushy tail, a raccoon, and once again, our terrier, Rosie, copping a squat right next to the lens. And I can tell you right now, she’s getting entirely too much kibble.

So who has been leaving this? I raise my eyebrow at my neighbors, by and large all good, church-going Baptists and Methodists who claim never to have let a drop of liquor cross their lips, yet they’re also the first to warn me, as if it was the worm in a bottle of Quervo, “whatever you do, don’t eat that peach!” Then there's my own church group, Episcopalians, and of course, they all drink (don’t believe them for a second when you see them at the IGA waiting for it to turn noon on Sunday, right after church, when the law allows them to buy beer and wine, and they’re hanging around, pretending they need milk), but they're far too snobby to drink anything other than a particularly nice vintage of pinot noir. And when I start asking around, everyone feigns ignorance.

I guess it appears as if another Christmas will pass without my finding which Secret Santa is depositing this tipple for our enjoyment. But let it be known that it is much appreciated. And it’s killed every fire ant mound on the property.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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