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Kountry Life Memories

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Whiskey Run
One Saturday afternoon in the late summer, gramps and my big brother Ike were getting set to head out for uncle Earl's place over in the next county. They were going on a whiskey run. Earl made the fruit jar whiskey both gramps and Ike loved. They were taking the big truck, dad's '31 Ford 1 1/2 ton. 'Can I come'? I asked. 'No, ya'd hafta sit 'tween us 'n ya smell bad'. Gramps growled. 'I took a bath las' night an I got clean overalls on'. Ike laughed and said to get in. We stopped at the coal yard in our town, bought as much coal as the old Ford truck could safely carry and started out for Earl's place. We always took Earl a load of coal as payment for his whiskey, even though he wouldn't ask for paynent. Earl had money from an inheritance so he didn't have to do squat. He made his own sipping whiskey for something to do. Earl lived in a big old run down farmhouse with no electricity. So run down that he lived in the kitchen. The rest of the house was closed off. The kitchen had a big Iron coal/wood burning cookstove, big table, some chairs, a cot and a sink that didn't work. Originally there was a full set of outbuildings but Earl tore down the worst of them for the firewood. The big barn, where his still was, an open sided machine shed, outhouse and some new steel grain bins were all that remained. Earl rented his land to a neighboring farmer who built the grain bins. The neighbor also kept Earl in firewood and grain in return for some of his whiskey. Earl was in his barn as we chugged up the rutted dirt road into his yard. He broke into a huge smile as he saw us. He was always happy to see us. Or, maybe just to get the coal. Anyway, Ike and I shoveled the coal into a pile in his machine shed where it would stay fairly dry. Then we sat out in Earl's barn, the men smoking, sipping and talking. Just before dark Ike said we better go, the lights on the old truck were not too bright. So, loading the precious cargo of an old wooden crate filled with fruit jars of whiskey, into the back, we headed for home. On a downhill grade on a gravel road, a deer suddenly darted from the roadside ditch and in front of us, barely visible the dim Ford lights. Ike cramped the wheel over, missing the deer but nosing hard into the ditch. The old mechanical brakes on old Fords were not too reliable either, like their headlights. That crashing sound from the back, followed by the aroma of alcohol could only mean one thing. Yep. Every single jar broke and the contents dripping off the truck bed into the ditch. That's the only time I ever saw gramps cry. And that's it. Nothing was killed, no one hurt. We got the truck out and made it home. Gramps moped around for the rest of the week, hardly speaking to anyone. Dad would chuckle to himself every once in a while.

Submitted By: Hoppy from IA on 2009-01-08

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