|HOW ABOUT WAKING UP IN A MOTEL 6 WITH HER?|
All of this about age mattered little to me, as I had several sources of supply. This should seem strange in a county that was legally "DRY!" Dry in name only. People have always consumed alcohol since the dawn of time. Hogansville was certainly not back in the dark ages as far as consumption went. There has always been as much beer, moonshine, or any brand of whiskey as a body could want.
Growing up here, we had two white cabs and two black cabs. I never understood how these guys made a living "driving a cab", until I took my first cab ride. My boyhood friend, Johnny Harris' daddy was one of the white cab driver. To my great amazement, I found my first source of alcohol.
Here's how it worked. First, you have to know that we were blessed with a local American Legion just outside of town. Now the rules were as I understand them was that members could bring their own alcohol, have it labeled and imbibe whenever they want. No other alcohol was supposed to be in the building. Yeah right! They were well stocked! I never saw a problem with that. As a matter of fact, years latter when I worked on the Hogansville Police Dept., I never had to answer an alcohol related call to the Legion. We did raid it several times and seize the slot machines (sometimes the same machines--now how did that happen?).
OK, now the good part. Paul Harris, our cab driver and guide to manhood, would take you to the parking lot of the Legion. You told him what you wanted, gave him the money, and he went in and bought. When he got back in the cab, he put the bottle on the seat beside him. He then took you back to where he picked you up, charged you double cab fare, and as you slid out, you grabbed your bottle. For guys underage, Paul would only do this for the ones Johnny ok'd. Of course Johnny was always with us, so he got his share. Still not a bad deal. Now don't get the idea that we were constantly on the road to the Legion and back. I personally only made half dozen trips. I was the fact that I had a "guy" when I needed one.
The next source was a rite of passage as well. I was not wildly searching for alcohol anywhere I could find it, I just knew where I could. My friend since before 1st grade was one Dwayne Robinson, better known as "COON" to his friends. This nickname was given to him by his employer and supplier of our after-hours drink--Jap Keith.
Jap was the owner of the Johnson Street grocery store known as Keith Bros. Grocery. There is a complete blog about this store, Jap, and Coon coming latter. For now, let me just say that Coon was the delivery boy almost as soon a he got his first driver's license. When I got off work with my Dad, I would go to Jap's as he and Coon were closing.
Jap's last chore every evening was to clean the meat saw, cases, and the floor. This was a job he performed with great detail. When finished, he announced, "That's it!", signaling it was time for our little meeting with "Jack". Jack being Jack Daniels Old #7. He would get out 3 glasses, wipe them out with the same apron he had worn all day, and then pour the golden liquid. He poured himself a good "three fingers", while Coon and I each got half as much. It could have well just had been 3 drops. The fact that I was trusted to have a glass with them said volumes towards growing up. The amount was insignificant, the fact that I was included meant the most to me.
Of course, I knew most of the local boot-leggers. I always chose not to visit them. Some of them were a tad shady. If I was going to drink something that strong, I wanted to know what was in it.
Strange thing, when I became old enough to drink legally, it really didn't appeal to me that much.