potholes full of shine

I never made no liquor myself. But I seen my share of stills and always knew who run ’em.

When I was a boy I helped hide it all the time for Uncle Poodle. I dug pot holes all over that mountain. Filled ’em with ten gallon jugs of mountain lightening.

He didn’t put his own youguns to it. They liked it too much. Why, I seen ’em boys drink shine from a paint bottle and fall over half dead. Get up the next day and do it again. They’d a drunk themselves to death if they had their way about it.

Like poor ole Johnny Overbaugh. He siphoned off some second run from his cousin’s still. Got in a greed and tried to get it all down him so he wouldn’t have to share. Ten seconds to drink it and ten seconds to die. That stuff bust his heart. It’d do that to you. I seen it happen. More than once.

Lucky Uncle Poodle’s boys didn’t know where their daddy kept his.

He trusted me though. Cause I didn’t like the stuff. Never touched a drop in my life.

Hezekiah Bishop
Puckett Ridge Road, West Virginia

You may also like

the tree

big celie

brush arbor


  • Amy K
    Apr 14, 2006 at 14:00

    the names of people and places in this piece are just wonderful…

  • Dan
    Apr 14, 2006 at 14:23

    Nice little piece on an old country tradition.

  • Chana
    Apr 14, 2006 at 23:40

    that was a lovely memory…thank you for your kind comment left in my blog….Happy Easter to you and your family.

  • Trish
    Apr 15, 2006 at 0:07

    Starting to wonder about your past lives…

  • David
    Apr 15, 2006 at 5:34

    Did this really happen? WOW…who’da thunk the hills were alive with the sound of sobriety?

  • kerri anne
    Apr 15, 2006 at 6:57

    The title is my favorite.

  • dan flynn
    Apr 15, 2006 at 10:59

    In the first instance I agree with Trish, your early lives were clearly amongst mountain folk.

    Re this piece: I like the tone and atmosphere. I also like the pared down style, the brevity, nevertheless you tell us a great deal, about potholes, family tradition and the dangers of moonshine or what the Irish call potteen. Impressive, especially as it’s all done in 197 words.

  • hattigrace
    Apr 15, 2006 at 17:48

    You know them. Mountain folk are direct and frugal in all ways, especially with words. Happy Easter Buffy!

  • Popeye
    Apr 16, 2006 at 0:39

    I like the burn. . .

  • Bernita
    Apr 16, 2006 at 13:15

    You have a remarkable talent. One “sees” the entire milieu.

  • LisaBinDaCity
    Apr 16, 2006 at 13:40

    Got to watch out for that moonshine.

  • landismom
    Apr 17, 2006 at 13:38

    Hi, I just popped over to say thanks for commenting on my blog, and now I see I’ve spent 20 minutes reading your posts. I really like your writing.

  • becky
    Apr 17, 2006 at 14:12

    Convincing. And great title.

  • Hill
    Apr 17, 2006 at 15:26

    Hey Buffy!!

    Thanks for stopping my the other day! SO happy to meet a fellow ex-pat, even if only hrough the blogosphere.

    What part of England are you in? I’m moving to Cambridge in two weeks and I CAN’T WAIT!!!

    Come by any time and we’ll compare writer’s notes…!(sigh)…Yes I, too long to be the next great novelist but, instead am working on being a currently good blogger. Hey – you gotta start somewhere, right??

  • Dawn (webmiztris)
    Apr 17, 2006 at 15:31

    I’ve tried a DROP of moonshine before and absolutely believe in its abilities to “bust a heart”!

  • bornfool
    Apr 17, 2006 at 16:00

    Hi Buffy,
    Thanks for stopping by my site and leaving such a nice comment. Since you liked the prison story you might want to check out my other blog. That’s where I usually post them. http://probitystatepen.blogspot.com

    I enjoy your writing. I’m going to browse around here for awhile.
    Thanks again,

  • oob
    Apr 17, 2006 at 16:57

    Hoo boy, my one encounter with moonshine I would love to forget. Awesome post!

  • Amy
    Apr 17, 2006 at 22:43

    I felt like you were channeling my great-uncle, who was repeatedly arrested in Missouri in the 20s for either 1) moonshinin’ or 2) getting women pregnant & then running out on them….eventually he changed his last name & moved to California. 🙂

    Thanks for commenting on my journal. I’m really enjoying yours.

  • Liz
    Apr 18, 2006 at 5:38

    good lawd, lady you can write!

  • Julie Carter
    Apr 29, 2006 at 0:19

    That accent sounds like home to me. We’ve even got a nearby Moonshine Festival to perk things up!


  • Al
    Apr 30, 2006 at 3:35

    Don’t want to hear ’bout no shine. Mom’s Uncle Henley got “jake leg” from a bad batch of shine. Her grandpa shot and killed two lawmen after they came to his farm looking for shine down in the spring house and roughed up his wife after not finding any. Her mama drove him to the train station and he fled to Texas. He was making a living as a travelling preacher but his full set of gold teeth and his excellent marksmanship gave him away. Back in Virginia, he was acquitted on one charge, convicted of the other, and outlived a five year jail sentence. No wonder my parents were teetotallers.