Friday, December 30, 2005

New Years Eve Story

In the late 50s, we were teenage high school students. On December 31st my friend and I were sitting in car on the Square downtown, one of the town drunks was standing in front of Hodge Drugstore. He was my uncle, my father's brother. I was looking at him and I waved, wanting to be congenial to my kin. He walked over to the car and looked us both over, and asked would we give him a ride. Sure, hop in.

I was not sure if he remembered me or not. He didn't say my name, only "you boys". He asked us to take him to a Shell Service Station almost a mile away. The Shell station had a reputation for selling bootleg moonshine. My uncle asked us to wait on him and he went inside and emerged carrying a paper sack. We knew what must be in the sack.

My uncle asked us to carry him someplace, he would tell us where. He gave us directions, turn by turn until we were on a dead in street in the middle of what would become Keeler Woods Subdivision - but then it was just one house frame after another. He got out with his paper sack and asked us to wait on him, which we did.

He came back without the paper sack. We carried my uncle back to where we originally met him, in front of Hodges Drugstore and let him out. That was the last time I saw him. Not long after that, his brothers put him in the veterans hospital in Milledgeville, Ga.

After we let him out we drove to Atlanta to buy some booze. Being underage we could not fool anyone into selling us any. Empty handed we drove back to Marietta. We arrived after it turned dark.

We drove out to the future Keeler Woods subdivision and found the dead-end street my uncle hours before guided us to. We drove up behind one and left the car lights on and went in the brush and woods behind the house and felt around each tree fairly near. My friend found the sack.

The sack contained a fruit jar of clear liquid. We smelled it and is was moonshine. We were wrong to take it and the only way I think it was justified was that we kept my alcoholic uncle from doing future damage to himself.

We took it to a party we knew of and did damage to ourselves. We mixed a concoxion we Christened "Purple Jesus" with the moonshine and grape juice. Everybody got drunk. One friend had to be taken to the ER because the powerful drink temporarily blinded him. Another one saw colored lights momentarily.

We all lived.

Although, as I typing this, I just remembered, the guy that had the party has been dead over 40 years now. The party years of high school and the hell raising at the University of Georgia turned him into a drunk. He worked for his father who owned mill that made underwear. He was a salesman for the company. He was missing for a few days and was discovered dead in a cheap rooming house in Texas.

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