M'JugsA Story by Christina May Shanaberg
M'date wif a city slicka!
A few days back, I went uptown wif m'nabor, Lesta. I 'ad ta lay in some supplies fer m'cabin. Lesta 'ad an ol' jalopy dat 'ould steam o'er, 'bout e'ry mile er two, so da trip ta town took 'bout all day, pert near.
Now, whilst Lesta wast lookin' 'round at da hartware store, I sat on a bench aside da gen'r'l store, lickin' me a cherry 'scicle. It were hotta den a snake on a rock on da Fourth o' July.
'Long came a city fella 'n' 'e were real perty. 'E 'ad on some dem tight city jeans dat shows ya 'quipment from da front 'n' da back. 'E was p'radin' 'round like a c**k dat met 'is first 'en. 'E comed o'er ta me 'n' says, "Hot day; isn't it, Miss?"
I says, "It o'ways be hotta in da city."
He took a sit aside me 'n' rattlt on, "Oh, so you aren't from here?"
"'Eck yeah, I got me a cabin up in dat dere holla, dat ya passt comin' inta town. It o'ways be cooler, up in dere. No concrete 'n' tar; da plants makes it coola."
"I bet that it's really pretty there. I am, only, in town for today, because I am just passing through; I, probably, won't get to see the hollow area."
"Ya stayin' at da sirrup woman's 'ouse. I mean, Miz Butterworth's Boardin' 'Ouse?"
"Yes; I have to leave for Columbus, in the morning."
"Well, iffen ya be wantin' ta eat, tanite; da diner burnt down, last winta, 'n' we ain't got none o' them fast joints, 'round 'ere. Ya're welcome ta come ta m'place fer vittles, iffen you'd like, fer suppa. We cen eat on da perch 'n' ya cen enjoy da cool breeze."
Dat city slicka jumpt on m'invite 'n' I give 'im da derections.
'Round 'bout e'venin', dat fella (Joe Glick was 'is name) pullt up front o' m'cabin in a shiny red convertible. 'E'd got 'isself all gussyt up and 'e smelt like a field o' flowers. It sure was goin' be nice ta suppa wif somebody wif some life in 'em; Pa was perty quiet e'er since 'e'd took ta da bed, afta Ma passt.
E'verthin' I lait out on da table, da city boy 'ad ta ask what it were. 'E acted like 'e'd ne'er seen no roast rabbit, turnips 'n' greens, ner creamt beets. I give 'im some mushmelon 'ooch ta drink 'n' 'e sure likt dat. 'E drunk up four tall glasses!
Afta suppa, I askt Joe whetha 'e'd like ta see m'jugs. Well, dat fella took off ta runnin' inta m'bedroom 'n' takin' 'is shirt off. Now, I don't know 'ow city folks take care o' der jugs, but 'round 'ere it's not in da bedroom. I toldt dat city slicka dat I wanted ta show 'im m'jugs on da back perch. 'E told me dat would be o'right wif 'im.
'E lookt a l'il surprist when 'e seen m'jugs on da perch. Dere dey was, 'bout fifty o' 'em.
"What is this," he askt.
"Jest some dif'er'nt kinds o' 'ooch. Dat wast mushmelon dat ya 'ad wif ya suppa."
"Wow, isn't this illegal?"
"Last I hear't, ya's 'lowt ta make three 'undert gallon, a year. Now, ya's can make two 'undert more fer each odult, in 'dition ta dat dere three fer the 'omeowna. I don't think ya gotta worry, 'cause iffen ya drink it all up, 'ow's da gov'ment gonna really know 'ow many ya make?"
He started sounding interested, now. "Well, it is really good. How do you make it?"
"Ya git ya some real ript-up fruit, 'ceptin' grapes gotta be jist ripe, 'n'
ya mash up two er three cups o' it. Some uses blooms, roots, bark, 'n' leaves, but ya gotta knows which ta use. Ya put it in a gallern jug, wif a couple cups o' suga, 'n' fill it wif real hot wata. I like ta put in a cup o' rice, too, 'cause it don't add no flava, but it be stronga. Wif da mushmelon I puts in a cup o' brown suga 'n' a little cin'mon. Wif cit'rus fruit I use white 'n' brown suga, raisins, 'n' rice. When ya's all done, tie a quiltin' square 'round da top 'n' stir e'ry day, fer eight days. Den, sif through a clean cloth 'n' throw out da leavin's. Don't put da leaven's in da compost, though. Ya cen dump 'em in da terlet er throw 'em at da edge o' da woods; watch da bugs 'n' critters git lit. Let it breath 'bout 'nother week, wif the quiltin' square atop, den cap it off er drink it. It gits better da longa it sit."
"What's in these really dark jugs?"
"Dat ain't no reg'lar 'ooch; dat's mead."
"Mead is 'ooch ya makes wif honey. Ya cen uses fruit, but I like ta make m'mead wif berries er plain wif no fruit. Ya makes it like reg'lar 'ooch, but ya put in a cup o' honey. I ne'er put rice in mead. I only puts two cups o' sweets in, at first. Iffen ya 'ooch er mead ain't sweet 'nough ta ya taste, when ya sif it, add another cup 'n' sif it 'gain in eight days, then let it rest 'bout a week afore cappin' it off."
"You can make mead with just honey and sugar."
"Yep, a cup o' each 'n' wata. Ya cen make rice 'ooch wif jist two cups o' rice, two cups o' suga, 'n' hot wata."
'E seemt ta be gettin' real in'rest't, now. "Can I try this dark mead? What about yeast; I thought you had to use yeast to make wine?!"
"'Ere ya go, dis is blackberry mead. It be m'favorite. Some folks likes ta use yeast. I, only, add yeast when da fruit don't float ta da top, in 'bout two ta three days (dat's 'ows ya know it's workin'.) Taste ta make sure ya addt da suga 'n' make sure dat it be breathin', 'cause dat'll make da fruit not rise, too. Ya cen git dat fancy city yeast, brewer yeast, but I jist uses ol' baking yeast. It'll cloud up yer brew, but it tastes da same; ya cen drink it in da dark 'n' ya won't know da dif'rence."
Now, 'e seemt ta be gettin' perty liquort up. "What about that stuff that people make with stills and corn and potatoes?"
"Ya cen't make whiskey, legal. I don't mess wif dat stuff, but dey's some dat do."
"This clear stuff, what is it?"
"Dat's jist plain rice 'ooch, but it cen be a might strong."
I didn't think it were a good idear, but 'e wanted ta try some. 'Is eyes got all glazt o'er, afta da second glass, 'n' 'e start actin' real strange. 'E went ta go outside 'n' git some air; he saidt that 'e was hot. Oh, m'goodness, he starts ta takin' off 'is clothes 'n' runnin' 'bout talkin' like a crazt loon. 'E wast, soon, necket 'n' runt off inta da woods, wif 'is bloomers on 'is 'ead.
It were startin' ta drizzle, so I took 'is clothes in ta m'ouse. He ne'er did come back 'n' 'is auto wast fillin' up wif rain. I figurt dat I'd look fer 'im, in da mornin', iffen 'e didn't show up afta 'e slept it off.
Long 'bout daybreak, comt da sheriff. He says, "Mabe, I got me a boy, down in my jail, that tells me that you tried to poison him. Now, he didn't have no identification, but he says that he answers to the name Joe Glick. What do you know about him and is that his car?"
"I askt dat boy up 'ere fer suppa 'n' 'e got ta samplin' m'ooch. 'E went runnin' off inta da woods 'n' left 'is clothes. I put 'em in 'is auto, dis mornin'."
"Oh, Mabe! I found him runnin' through town, last night, neckeder than the Baby Jesus on Christmas mornin', with his inb'tweens on his head. He, pert near, scare't the Wida Poke half ta death. You shouldn't oughta give him that stuff, you're lucky ya didn't kill him. I'll send my deputies out to get his car and I'll take his clothes with me. Now, you try to behave yourself, girl."
I ne'er seen Mista Glick, 'gain. Ya know, 'e ne'er e'en thankt me fer suppa.
I g'ess, da mor'l o' dis story is, "Don't show no city slicka m'jugs!"
© 2011 Christina May Shanaberg
Christina May Shanaberg
Mount Vernon, OH
AboutI am a former member of North Shore Writers' Guild in Willoughby OH. I have had numerous poems published and letters. I am, currently, working on a screen play that I hope will interest my cousin-in.. more..
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