Mama's Wine

Good evening, ya'll. Come on in the house and have a cup of coffee for it's just cool enough to enjoy a cup with us. You can feel a little nip in the air and there is a nice breeze blowing but not too cool. It has rained buckets and buckets the last 2 days and nights. I think it strangled some frogs for I found 1 in the house this morning trying to find high ground, bless his little green heart. Heartlessly I caught him and placed him back in the rain for I won't share my house with frogs and lizards and anything that hops or crawls. The sun is out now and we are glad to see it although the rain did add some water to our new pond. Fishes, we are coming soon to get you and put you in your new home.

While I was shopping the other day I saw baskets of scuppernong grapes and some purple grapes for sale. I almost bought a basket until I saw the price and said, "Nope," for they were a little expensive. It was not because I don't like the golden scuppernongs and purple muscadines for daddy had a big arbor behind the house with both varieties and I have eaten many of them.

Daddy grew them for us to eat all we could hold and for mama to make grape jelly. Somewhere along the road, she began to make her homemade wine. Now we had an alcohol free home! I never saw a bottle of beer, wine or liquor in our home. Mama said daddy drank beer until she told him she was expecting me and he poured out the beer he had and never bought anymore.

I do remember him going on fishing and hunting trips with Mr. Bennet Slade and Mr. Barnett and I know there was a little tipping of the bottle on these trips. According to daddy, he didn't participate but was the designated driver of the boat and trucks. He would laugh and tell us some of the antics of the group but knowing my daddy, he wasn't lying about not participating.

Because of this practice in our home, I was a little surprised when mama began to make her wine. She found a recipe somewhere to tell her how much sugar to add to the juice and we scrounged up glass bottles to put it in. She said she was making it to soak her fruit cakes in and to cook deer and beef roasts. It was used for these purposes but I think maybe a little sipping went on to check for the sweetness.

It was good wine and the deer and beef did taste delicious but when I would test it for her there was no telling how strong it would be. Some years it was just a little strong and other years it would knock your socks off. When she would take the top of the big canner where she stored the fruitcakes, you could smell them all over the house. Sure did make those cakes taste good, not that they needed anything but the added flavor enhanced their excellent flavor.

Having homemade wine was OK but you couldn't go to the liquor store and buy any. Mama said just as sure as she went in that store everybody in the church would come by and see the deacon's wife, WMU director and saint of First Baptist coming out of the store with a bottle. Her name would have been "Mud" in an hour. The phones would have rung all over town with the news so bought was out of the question.

Now later on, we discovered that when you had a cold and cough which would not go away, homemade cough syrup would cure it. You mix 1/3 whiskey, 1/3 honey and 1/3 lemon juice and take it by the spoonful when you cough. The cough will go away and you don't care after a little bit if you are coughing. So buying whiskey for medicinal purposes was alright as long as you bought it in another town.

One Christmas my niece brought her fiancee home to mama and daddy's for a visit and he had a terrible cough and cold and mama had given him every cough syrup she had and nothing was stopping his hacking and coughing. She decided her homemade cough syrup was in order but she was out of whiskey. She was in a quandary of what to do for she nor daddy could go to the local ABC (Alabama liquor) store. There were 3 grown grandsons there and they quickly volunteered to fetch the medicine.

Mama told them to get her purse so she could give them some money and made them promise not to tell the store owner who they were. Two of them had the last name Polk and our son is a Robson so they were to pretend to be visiting hunters or fishermen or just passing through. No way were they to say they were Tootsie and Ott's grandsons and they were buying this whiskey for the Polks.

Off they went and when they came back they sheepishly entered the house and hung their heads. Mama questioned them and they sorrowfully told her they had accidentally let the cat out of the bag and told them they were Polks and buying this whiskey for Ott and Tootsie Polk but it was for medicine. They hung their heads and begged forgiveness.

Now mama went into hysterics and was all upset. She said she would never be able to hold her head up in town again and she was sure they laughed when they told them it was for medicine. She went off on a tangent that lasted for awhile until the boys couldn't contain their glee any longer and confessed they were teasing her. They were laughing their heads off and mama was ready to beat them senseless. It took her a long time to see the humor in the situation.

She finally made the cough syrup, Greg took it like a man and Southern Gentleman although he said it was the worst tasting stuff he had ever tasted. It stopped the coughing! It must not have been too bad for he married Beth and like to come back to visit but just not with a cough.

Mama was a trip and her wine was good. In fact, we have some of the last batch in our pantry and it still cooks good deer meat.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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