Hallelujah, By and By…
This here’s Grandpap’s story, like we heard from time on top o’time. And lawsy, it don’t never get old!
Well, come the Pro-hibition, also come them folks what fell to both sides o’that fence. Them what believed strong in bein’ Pro-hibited, and them what believed strong in bein’ fully hibited.
We Goodwells, Grandpap leadin’ that march, fell firm on the hibitation side. Could o’been the successful commercial endeavor and the benefits therein and thereof. Could o’been the fame what fell even heavier upon the Goodwell family and to which most our kin ‘cross Denton County and further yonder was right grateful. Could o’been the joy of servin’ the community in a way ’twas uplifitin’ and intoxicatin’ both at the same time.
Could o’ jest been Grandpap, he didn’t like nobody tellin’ him jest what he could nor could not do. Nor did he reckon as a red-bloodied American he’d never be forced to give up any freedom whatsoever.
And let’s call his pade a pade, Grandpap then and now is as durned stubborn as a Missouri mule.
And proud of it.
Well, the Goodwells (did I mention this is, law, twenty years prior to this here tellin’? That’s plumb a decade ‘r more!), they continued in their happy ways, makin’ kith and kin healthy, if not wealthy and wise. Grandpap, and Daddy and his brothers too, they guarded that recipe with thur lives. They ain’t, none of them, never revealed the secrets of the ingredients nor the secrets of the brewin’ to this day. Big Brother Linc, bein’ he’s the oldest of all my brothers and sisters, he’ll be the next to be let in on it, if we was producin’….., but me, I’m further on down the line. I reckon I’ll wait my turn.
Got no choice in the matter, says I.
If we was producin’…..
But I digress.
Grandpap, ‘cordin’ to him and Daddy and the uncles still hereabouts, he’d do all the orderin’ of the corn seed, he’d oversee the haulin’ of the goods up down the hill trail past that ol’ holler out to the back forty. Him and one or two or t’other of his boys would spend ‘couple afternoons ever’ week “out to the shed.” That there? That’d be code fer “we’s all out to the still a’doin’ the brewin’. Steer clear.”
Grandmama, her job was to worsh all them Mason jars what needed fillin’ and re’fillin’. Doubt she much minded. She did enjoy her Kansas City outtin’s so.
Daddy’ll usually inject a word at this point in Grandpap’s story, ‘splainin’ how Grandpap’d hardly never let them fellers work the ‘shine alone. Wudn’t a issue o’trust, mind you, he’d say, noddin’ and smilin’ Grandpap’s way, ’twas a matter of quality control.
And Grandpap, he was self- commisioned controller of said quality, takin’ it right serious. Jest a spoonful here ‘n there, Daddy’d say. And here Grandpap’d do the noddin’.
Clear heads on the manufacturin’ side was paramount. “Cain’t be caught a’drinkin’ the profits!” was Grandpap’s contribution to this aside.
Well, time come they began to hear tell o’raids and revenuers and spies and sneaks spreadin’ like greasy fingers from the North and East, even fer as Chicago! Over to Jeff City, big outfit operatin’ within’ spittin’ distance from the Capitol Buildin’ of the Grand State of Missouri, well, once they heard the law was a’comin’, ‘stead o’hightailin’ it out the county in them grand stretch cars I seen out to the big road, why, they jest sent the whole pro-duction and inventory up in blazes. Left them revenuers a’holdin’ they hats and a’scratchin’ they heads. Couldn’t find hide nor hair of contraband nowhere. Burned to smithereens, it all was. Grandpap heard tell it was a far lit with God’s own hand. Now, I cain’t imagine God didn’t get Him some help by layin’ this mission on somebody’s heart. Didn’t matter one iota, anyhow. Wudn’t a thing them lawmen could do but move on.
Missouri is, after all, known belovedly as “The Show Me State,” and the way I see it, ‘lessin’ they could find them some stills to smash or barrels to ax, they was up a crick with not one paddle.
‘Course, them revenuers, they was a breed. Law and order was what they eat fer dinner. They wudn’t like to give up, nosireeBOB!
And ‘course, neither would Grandpap.
The story always jumps ’round this here part. Tales o’other manufacturers and they brushes with the law. The sadness in Grandpap’s voice when he spoke, even now, of thur losses and losses of livelihoods, like to broke the listener’s heart.
We, all us newer Goodwells, we’d shake our heads sorrowfully and look to the floor. ‘Twas expected, y’see.
Then! Have Mercy and Hallelujah!
With a roar like a freight train heavy loaded runnin’ hot, Grandpap, he’d let out a warhoop!
“Not this man! Not this day!”
And we, all us newer Goodwells, we’d tumble from our chairs or prostrate ourselves on the floor in laughter and joy! ‘Twas also expected, y’see.
Story goes, Grandpap was jest a whittlin’ some little do-hickey on the front veranda of the big ol’ white house to the top of the purty hill. Jest a’shootin’ the breeze with his boys, dog Buford lyin’ like he was dead, always at his feet.
Near my whole life, we’ve had us a Buford o’some mix or t’other. Always a good huntin’ dog who’d love Grandpap better’n life.
We do find us some smart hounddogs.
Well, this day in question, was a lazy, hazy afternoon. Soft breeze waftin’ the long green grasses of the vast front yard. Birds was too lazy to even sing, ‘cept ever now and a’gin. Sun was that thick yeller color, shootin’ sleepy shadows longways out from all them oaks. Bugs was a’buzzin’, Grandmama was a hummin’ from somewhere deep in the big ol’ house, a late afternoon God-given fer contemplation and gratitude fer his gifts.
Like most summertime afternoons to this here very day.
Well in a snap, that ol’ revery was plumb broke! Spinnin’ dust and ol’ Model T engine a whinin’ and a strainin’, come speedin’ up the lane from the bottoms down below. Heard him ‘fore seein’ him, Grandpap and the boys, and even Buford rose to attention with wonderment! Didn’t nobody never hurry nowhere this time o’day!
Even now, Grandpap reckons his first thinkin’ must be Judgement Day, fer certain, ‘cept he don’t recall hearin’ any trumpets soundin’.
E-ventually, that ol’ car rumbled and bounced its to the top of the purty hill, all dirt and swirls and hollers and bodies leapin’ from the front and back and ever’ whichever! Grandpap said didn’t nothin’ settle, not even fer a minute, but in all the hullabaloo, he recon-ized Dep’ty Junior Macinaw, known ferever as “Bubba.”
Bubba jest jumped ’round hollerin’ to high heaven, a’wavin’ his beefy hands and flailin’ a’bout like he’d got him the rabies, but them few words what Grandpap could decipher was them ones he’d dreaded for some time,
“Revenuers is comin’! Revenuers is comin’! Hide the ‘shine! Hide the ‘shine!”
The way Grandpap relays the story, why, jest about this moment, I’m so durned het up I kin hardly suck in a breath, much less push it out!
Well, there’s more to this story, it only picks up from there!
It’s a whopper!
“Hallelujah, by and by!”