LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
He had a ready market for the stuff because most of eastern Kentucky was “dry” at that time and it was over 60 crooked miles from John’s place to the nearest liquor store. I figure I can get away with telling this because the statutes of limitation have expired and both John and his wife have been dead for over 30 years. I don’t believe they had any children. At least he never spoke of them.
He used to say he couldn’t give a gallon of cider away until he “doctored” it. Then he could sell it for $25 a gallon or $10 a quart.
I used a tin cup and a funnel to dip the doctored cider from the churns back into the gallon jugs and Mason Jars. Then I corked the jugs and lidded the jars and labeled them with a red felt pen “Granny Fighting Cider.” You had to wait until the containers were sealed and dry to label them because if any of the brew got on the label it would melt right off. John said, “Don’t ever spill any on the floor cause it’ll take the varnish off.”
I’d go back to the dorm and sneak into the laundry room and then the shower because, if anybody smelled me or my clothes, they thought I’d been cleaning out hog pens. But when I pulled a quart of John’s Granny Fighting Cider out from under my bunk, and passed it around, the teasing stopped. I’m not sure how strong, proof-wise, the stuff actually was, but it was a lot like the then-popular hair dressing, Bryle Crème. A little dab would do you. Especially if you wanted to remain standing for any length of time.