Sheriff Investigates Still
I enjoy writing about real situations so when our writers’ group decided to do a book called “Ripped From the Headlines,” I wanted to write about something that could have happened. One of my interests in natural health and I know a lady who brewed a special tea to help many problems. So this story is about a fictitious local man, who was working on a natural cure.
Boden, Ohio 1933 An anonymous source recently informed the Signal about law enforcement conducting an investigation in the woods outside of town. It seems a man known only as Lightning has been carefully watched by the sheriff’s office because of suspicious behavior involving a still in the hillside behind his home.
Neighbors watched Lightning carry bag after bag of materials into a cave under a rock cliff. Several local men were also seen entering the cave. It is suspected that they were there to purchase the brew being made.
A freshwater spring comes out in that area and is vital for the making of good rum, which some have heard Lightning say was his favorite drink.
Sheriff Harry Totten and a couple deputies surrounded the entrance on a recent morning very early before Lightning even arrived at the still. They hid in the trees so they could watch his approach.
Lightning whistled a merry tune of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” as he happily made his way to the hillside one sunny May morning.
Imagine his surprise when the sheriff and two deputies appeared from the woods with guns drawn. His whistling stopped as a puzzled look crossed his face.
“What’s the problem, sheriff? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”
With a smirk on his face, Sheriff Totten answered, “We’ll see about that when we check inside the hillside here. Seems something strange is going on in that cave and we’re here to check it out.”
“Oh, sir, I can’t let you see in there as I’m working on a secret and don’t want anyone to see it until it is perfected.”
“Yea, sure. Some secret brew to make your neighbor’s feel better?” By now the sheriff was getting a bit upset by Lightning’s conversation.
“How do you know what I’m working on? No one has been told anything about it. This hasn’t even been tested yet.”
Exasperated, a deputy ordered, “Let us in the hillside and see what is inside.”
“Please don’t come in. I’m not ready for people to know about this.” pleaded Lightning.
“Sorry, but we’re headed in this very minute so step aside.” With that, they entered the hillside to find the still they were sure was making rum.
Inside they discovered something that resembled a still but it didn’t smell like alcohol at all. On closer inspection, it didn’t taste like alcohol either. In fact, it rather tasted like dirt.
“Yuk! This is horrible. You’ll never find anyone to buy this if you were planning on selling it. Whatever is it for?”
Lightning chewed on his lip as he tried to think of a way to explain what he was making without giving away the secret completely. Everyone knew about his wife’s rheumatism so maybe that would satisfy the sheriff.
“Actually, I’m trying to make a tonic that will help my wife’s rheumatism. She really suffers from the pain and I keep trying different combinations to see if I can find something that helps. I work on it each morning for a little while before I go to work and let her try some each day.”
“Has it helped your wife any?” smirked the sheriff. “I don’t think anything you brew up here is going to prove to help rheumatism.”
With that, Sheriff Totten and his deputies had a good laugh as they returned to their recently purchased 1932 Ford Model B. “I always thought Lightning was a little off his rocker.”
Now Lightning could relax as he continued his experiment with the old Indian recipe his elders had passed down for generations. No one had developed it in recent years and Lightning felt it was about time that someone put it to work to help many people.
Living near Big Indian Run, he could gather the needed herbs and roots easily from the hillsides close by his home. When he combined them with fresh spring water, it didn’t take long in the still for the purest tea to overflow.
Some say it tasted like dirt, but if it helped a person feel better that was what was important.
He had heard stories of people being cured of their illnesses after drinking this special tea day after day. His ancestors had carried down the stories for generations.
Now, his daughter, Crystal, was very ill, too, and nothing seemed to help her. That’s what made him decide that this was the right time to develop this special brew.
“Daddy,” he heard her call. “Come carry me to the spring so I can watch you work.”
Quickly he moved to the house to help his daughter who was so weak she could scarcely stand. Together they sat by the spring and felt the soft summer breeze.
“If only you felt better and life could stay like this,” he whispered.
Crystal so wanted to go to school but right now that wasn’t possible. She knew her dad was trying his best to find a solution to make her feel better so she tried not to complain.
Day after day, Crystal drank the special tea her dad had brewed and day by day, he noticed a little color returning to her face and a little strength coming back to her body.
Sometimes the best cures for our aches and pains have been given to us in the natural world around us if we just know how to use them.
Today, Crystal enjoys going to school and laughs when her dad tells the story about Sheriff Totten thinking he had a still to brew alcohol.
His wife’s rheumatism has improved remarkably as well. There has to be something to that old Indian recipe.
Lightning is seriously thinking about bottling his brew!
Would you be willing to try some?