Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway Moon Shine Tale and We were Barely in the Twentieth Century...

ridgelandcopyrightjpgWinter Ridgeland Beauty  Original 8"x10" Oil Painting   $168

Prints on Paper or Canvas and Greeting Cards Available at   KENDALL KESSLER ART

I still have a lot of paintings to post that I haven't already posted but I am running out of time today so here are some favorites!

nearpurgatorycopyrightNear Purgatory  Original Painting has been Sold

Prints on Paper or Canvas and Greeting Cards available at   KENDALL KESSLER ART

eveglowrockcastlecopyrightjpgEvening Glow at Rock Castle Gorge   Original 30"x40" Oil Painting     $2425

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Old Jake 1983

Bootlegging, like the chestnut tree, is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Only a few old die-hards persist today. Yet, there was a time when bootleg whisky was one of the few ways a mountain family had of getting cash. Not everyone participated but those who did were an independent bunch. They worked hard to provide for their families the best way they could during times many of us today would find impossible.

They were not the lawless hillbilly so many stories have been told about. They were, for the most part, honest, God-fearing family men who did what they had to do.

The articles about bootleggers in The Mountain Laurel will not be making fun of those who made whisky. They may be humorous but it is not our intention to make fun, just the opposite. We wish to pay tribute to the people and the era when independence was alive and times were hard but through it all, humor managed to ease the hardships, if only long enough for a smile.

Must have been 50 or 60 years ago when this story supposedly took place. Seems there was a fellow who had him a still set up down near Lover’s Leap. He was notorious as a “bootlegger” but his word was gold. If he told you something, you could count on it and everyone that ever drank his “corn” bragged on it. Word is that even the judge down at Stuart liked it so much that he kept a little “laid back” for his own use.

Well, it seems that whenever the revenue officers in these parts ran up on a slow time finding other stills, they would come looking for “Jake.” He was their ace in the hole, a “bonified bootlegger” to fill the slack time and their monthly arrest reports.

Well, on this occasion, “Jake” had his still set up down near “the Leap” and it was a model of “bootlegging art.” Just exactly what the revenue boys needed, since they had received instructions from Richmond the day before to dismantle a working still and send it to the capitol for display. The workmanship “Jake” had put into this still was the culmination of a lifetime of experience. He had spared no detail in its construction and it was just the thing for Richmond.

The officers were sorry they hadn't taken a picture of the still before dismantling it so Jake offered to put it back up so they could take a picture in the morning.  He rebuilt it and made moon shine all night long!

Well,  the boys were upset because they’d been tricked, not to mention born gullible and they told “Jake” he was under arrest again. “Jake” is the only man in these parts that’s ever been arrested for bootlegging two days running on the same still at that! But knowing “Jake,” it seems appropriate that he should have that honor.

The day of “Jake’s” trial, he was to be tried for two counts of bootlegging and since word had gotten out about the circumstances of his second arrest, the courtroom was packed. When the revenue boys walked into the room snickers and outright laughs noted their arrival. Since “court days” were pretty big doings in those days, the town was packed. Everyone wanted to find out how “Jake” would fare before the judge.

Well, as it turned out, he “fared” pretty well. The judge reckoned that “Jake” was guilty on both counts but since the revenue boys had told him to set the still back up and hadn’t told him not to run off any more bootleg, if he found “Jake” guilty on the second count, then he’d have to find the boys guilty as accomplices. This wouldn’t really be fair to them because they had already suffered enough humiliation by way of being laughed at by everybody in the county. (At this point, he had to threaten to clear the courtroom if the laughter didn’t cease. Immediately!)

So in the best judgment of the court, they would have to let “Jake” off on the second charge and only find him guilty on the first. This decision met with the approval of everyone including the boys and “Jake”, although he could never understand why a man couldn’t run off a batch of “corn” for his friends and neighbors without it being the “law’s” business.

I got this great story from the online publication, The Mountain Laurel

Life with The Word and Bird Man - Clyde Kessler

My husband and I have never been that great with technology.  When computers took over I didn't want to keep up which is a decision I regret since no one can escape now.  Anyway, my husband says we were barely with it in the twentieth century when it turned into the twenty-first!  Still catching up every day! Yikes!

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