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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Walking With Jackie the Ripper

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Do you remember that old Roger Miller song that starts "Grape wine in a mason jar ... homemade and brought ta school ... by a friend ah mine and after class ... me and him and this other fool ... decided that we'd drink up what's left ....."?

Those words ran through my mind not long ago when one of my sisters informed me of her decision to embark upon a new hobby; ergo, creating wine at home.

I must tell you that I didn't get all bent out of shape at this revelation because Sister Kay has had more than a few hobbies in her day and none of them sticks with her for any length of time. (I am told wine making takes a full month which I thought was far beyond her attention span.)

Kay tends to embrace each new venture with extreme dedication which lasts from a few minutes to a few hours, after which she decides the cause is not worthy of her effort, and regardless of the amount of money she has invested in the project, it is cast aside like a worn-out shoe.

It seems to me that every time she goes to a big craft show Sister comes away with a new purpose in life. Once in Silver Dollar City she saw some rocks someone had painted to look like small houses, really small houses, and on the spot she determined to recreate our entire hometown in her back yard (which is very small) and charge the local populace an admission fee (a sizeable amount) to get in and see it. This was to be her life after retirement which would start right away, she told us, and then she bought a big expensive book which showed a person how to paint rocks.

Before putting one brush stroke on a single rock she started drawing up plans for the endeavor, and she asked our brothers what it would cost to put a high board fence around her place to deter people from sneaking in to see the results of her creativity without paying the sizeable admission fee which was to include a miniature train ride to all the sites. (If nothing else, she thinks big.)

When she was told the price of the high board fence, the idea of spending the rest of her days painting rocks lost all its charm. She would have to live a long time to break even.

However, let me tell you in her defense of one hobby which has endured with her for almost half a century. Down through the years she has acquired an outstanding collection of wooden men, hundreds of them from all over the world, which she displays proudly in her home on beautiful oak shelves built by the same brothers who quoted her a price on the high board fence.

But anyway, I must tell you the idea of making wine was not original with her. She got it from one of our brothers who, after suffering a heart attack and subsequent open-heart surgery, was advised by his doctors that a small glass of wine daily would be greatly beneficial to his recovery and general well-being. Being real picky, he was unable to find any wine on the market that he liked so he decided to make his own.

He didn't like what he made either, but some of us did and he shared his recipe with the clan. I was at Sister Kay's home the night she decided to stir up a gallon and it was an interesting way to pass an evening.

After mixing all the ingredients together, she poured the results into a large glass gallon jug (an item not easily found in these days, let me tell you) and as the grand finale, she affixed onto the mouth of the container a round balloon, a rather large one. We had been told the results of fermentation would cause expansion in the balloon.

Sure enough, the results of fermentation caused expansion in the balloon. Not two hours had passed when it whizzed off and shot around the room several times, nearly scaring Jackie to death and caused her to have an accident. A new balloon had to be attached with duct tape.

Kay did persevere in this hobby and she is really good to share with us all. Her slogan is "I Will Give Away No Wine Before Its Time."

That's one full month at her winery.