Ghosts of Christmas

“You lied to me!” So said my 6-year-old daughter to me one merry Christmas.

We always made a big deal out of Christmas Eve. It was the one night that I did the cooking, and that alone made it interesting.

After the guests pushed the food around on their plates long enough that they could plausibly pretend they were full, our tradition was to open gifts. We thought that we and the gifts looked better in the dim Christmas Eve lights after a few single malt scotches than in the bright Christmas Day lights with a hangover. The kids often put on a play.

Eventually, the party ended and the guests went home. After the stockings were well hung by the chimney with care, the kids would nestle all snug in their beds in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Hallucinogenic visions of plums and whatnot danced in their sugar-infused heads.

After even the mice weren’t stirring, the curtain lifted on my own little play. Continue reading

I’ll take redneck moonshiners over bluenose revenuers

The Discovery Channel has a series out on moonshiners. The characters are from red states like Tennessee and Kentucky, while the television producers are from blue states like California and New York.

The latter naturally portray the former as stupid.

The red state rednecks tell us that first you find a place for the still, then you haul all the stuff there. There’s a furnace, lots of piping, a condenser and miscellaneous things that go with it like duct tape, barrels, ATVs, propane tanks, sideburns, guns, denim overalls and tattoos.

Lots can go wrong in this business. If you use an old automobile radiator for the condenser, for example, you can poison yourself and your customers with the residual antifreeze. That’s bad for business.

In one episode, Continue reading