We have some crazy family stories, as you have already seen. We have some super crazy family friends who are as much like our family as anyone could be. Every Christmas Eve when I was in high school, college and early marriage, we spent Christmas Eve with our dear friends. Their children were much younger and I babysat for them sometimes. We all teased and had a great time with each other. Among other things, the husband was an antiques dealer specializing in vintage jars and bottles. He had some gorgeous pieces and was very generous with his collection. He and his wife also loved to get strange gifts for my father. Dad is, among other things, a connoisseur of hot sauces and mustards. We have gone to the Williamsburg Pottery Factory solely for the purpose of getting a case of a rare Trappey's hot sauce and special stone ground mustard. The man is hard core. So, they always tried to find the hottest and weirdest offerings of these two delicacies. AND, if they found a rare hot pepper mustard, well, Heaven on Earth. These were always put in some sort of pretty basket or antique dough bowl or some sort of stellar presentation and given to him with great ceremony and humor because there was always a hidden evil trick or item within. One year, when Brian and I were first married, the basket was indeed beautiful. We sat in the family room of my parents' house, in anticipation of the hidden object. The wife, who is as big a teaser as my dad, is from the country and knows some people. My father had often joked about when he might benefit from her connections, tongue in cheek of course. She knew some people that Christmas, that's for sure. In the middle of his beautiful basket, was a very beautiful, hard to find spiderweb flask.
The flask was full of pretty purple liquid. Why, again you ask, am I telling you this story tonight? Well, we got stuck watching the Moonshiners marathon on Discovery, because nothing says "Happy New Year" like illegal liquor makers. The flask was full of homemade grape flavored moonshine. Not the legal kind you get from the Back Porch or some liquor stores with maraschino cherries floating in it. No, this was some "back in the holler have to know somebody to get it probably contains kerosene" kind of liquor. After several fruitless attempts to find out which county it came from, my father opens the flask, smells it and, with his usual sarcastic smirk, takes a sip. My mom then leaves the room, partly to ready the Christmas desserts and partly out of protest. Then my brother looks at the flask, smells it and takes a sip. The hub takes a sip, after smelling it of course. Lastly, it comes to me. At first I was admiring the flask and envious of the fact that Dad had one and I did not. I then opened the flask and smelled it like everybody else. As I was taking my sip, my mom walks in to see her baby daughter trying the illegal moonshine in the family room of her home and on Christmas Day of all times. She stares me down, then turns around and as she is walking off said to herself, "Well, I'd better write this down in the book as the Christmas the whole family went blind...kerosene will do that to a person....". Well, we all started laughing hysterically and closed up the flask. I think they still have it with the remaining shine in it. While I love grape, one sip was more than enough. Still don't know where it came from...Carter County....Mountain City, well deep in Johnson County, who knows. But I get cracked up every time I watch Moonshiners on Discovery. One episode they were cutting it with bleach. Not sure if that is an upward or lateral move from Kerosene, but I think it could still cause some damage. Oh well, just another strange story in the weirdness that is my life.