Thursday, November 17, 2011


   My Grandma Lynch told me this one about my Grandpa; I think I remember it so well mainly because she laughed so much while telling it.
   Back when my mom and the rest of their kids were little my Grandpa apparently was quite a drinker. That part of the story surprised me because even though he could make moonshine when I was growing up the only time I ever saw him drink was when just the two of us would go fishing and he made me promise that it would be our secret. Anyway, him and a couple of his friends had a moonshine still hidden down in Colton bottoms. I had heard from the family that he had been a whiskey maker back then and his best customer was himself.
   He'd been down in the woods working on that still all of one hot summer day and decided to head home well after dark. He was running a little low at home so he decided to take a couple of gallons with him for later. It was a long walk home and the only light he had was a carbide miner's lamp but he knew those woods and figured it would be safer walking through the woods than on the road since you never knew when the sheriff might be out cruising down the road. He'd never been caught making shine and he didn't plan on taking any chances.
   He was moving right along making good time until he got to the river. He was going to have to get up on the road in order to cross over the river bridge. He figured that would be all right because as soon as he was on the other side he could duck back into the woods. Once he was on the other side of the river there was only one small patch of woods and an eighty acre field between him and the house.
   Wouldn't you know it! As soon as he stepped onto the road he saw a pair of head lights coming down the road. He had to slide back down the roadside to get back into the woods and wait for whoever it was to pass. As soon as they went by he'd be able to climb back up to the road and cross the bridge. He was standing just a little ways back in the trees as the car got closer. He couldn't figure out what was going on with the car because it seemed to be slowing down the closer it got to him. When it got close to the end of the bridge it stopped in the road and all of a sudden a spot light came on and started swiping the tress on his side of the road. When the light came on he had dropped to the ground and crawled behind some brush. He peeked out from his hiding spot trying to see what was going on and that's when he saw the sheriffs sign painted on the side of the car. He wasn't sure if they had seen him when he stepped out onto the road or if they were just checking out the woods and he wasn't going to hang around and wait to find out. He turned and started crawling back into the woods. He figured he'd get a little farther back in the darkness and wait for them to leave. About the time he felt he was far enough back he heard the car doors open. He looked back toward the road and through the trees he could see two people back lit by the spot light. At least one of them had a flashlight and it looked like he was starting to come down off the road into the woods.
   This was not looking good! He could hear them talking but couldn't understand what they were saying. One of them was sure enough down at the edge of the woods and shining his light at the ground. That one stopped, shined his light at the ground for a few minutes then yelled to the other one "got some fresh tracks here". Grandpa recognized the voice of a deputy that he knew. He also knew that this particular deputy spent a lot of time looking for moon shiners. He also knew there was no good excuse he could give for being out in the woods that late so his only choice was to try and get away for them.
   He got up and took off through the woods trying to keep as many trees between himself and the deputies as possible. The trail he had been following was going to be too easy for them to find and the rest of the woods close to the river had way too much brush to be able to move through them quietly so he angled toward the river.
   When he got to the river he looked up toward the bridge and could see that one of the deputies had walked out to the middle and was shining his flashlight down the river. There was no sign of the one that was surely in the woods behind him but he knew it was only a matter of time before he showed up. The one on the bridge only had a flashlight and it wasn't lighting up the river this far down so Grandpa figured the best thing for him to do would be to swim to the other side.
   It was a pretty warm summer night and he was a good swimmer so he did think he would have any problem but he had two gallon jugs of shine and he wasn't about to go off an leave them. He knew he wouldn't be able to swim with a jug in each hand and he didn't have any way of tying them together so he could slip them over his neck but he came up with a plan (maybe this is where I inherited my "such a good plan" trait from). He took his bib overalls off, tied the legs off and stuck a gallon in each leg. Now he could hang them around his neck and have both arms free for swimming. One thing I need to mention here. According to Grandma bib overalls where all he wore back in them days, and I do mean that's ALL he wore. Luckily it was a warm night!
   He eased into the water and struck out. Things were going fine right up until he was most of the way across. All of a sudden he heard some yelling coming from the bridge. When he looked that way he got an eye full of light! It seems the deputy on the bridge had gone back to his car and got a bigger light and was shining it on Grandpa. About that time he heard an answering yell from the river bank behind him. The other deputy was on the bank and was also shining his light toward Grandpa. He had made it across by then and being careful not to look back so they couldn't see his face he crawled out of the water, jumped up and took off through the woods, bare butt shining in their lights.
   Now all Grandpa had to do was make it through a small patch of woods and across the field and since there were several houses on that side and they wouldn't know which one he had gone too, he would be home safe. He made it through the woods with no problem and without even slowing down he headed out across the field, naked as a jay bird with his whiskey filled britches flapping around his neck. Here's where he ran into a little problem. He was also a framer back then and one thing he liked to grow was Okra and he must have been really proud of that field because Okra doesn't grow all that well in Oklahoma, at least not in big bunches but he had managed to get an entire eighty acre field going and going well. Now all of you that have anything to do with Okra in a field will now exactly what happened. For those of you who don't a little primer on Okra. It grows on bushes that can average about three feet tall, Okra pods are actually a fruit and just like a peach, they have fuzz on them but unlike a peach this fuzz is just right to really irritate human skin and since Grandpa was running across that field buck naked, guess which part of the human it was starting to irritate.
   He got away from the law that night which was the good news. He spent the next three days laying on the couch with his legs propped up, wearing nothing but a sheet and unable to walk was the not so good news.
   When I asked Grandpa about this story he admitted that it was true but according to him the worst part of it was the fact that Grandma spent those three days laughing at him every time she walked by and that after all those years she still loved to tell that story to everyone who would listen.