If the moonshine don’t get ya, the law will

I’ve been to a Haywood County party or two in my day, and I’ve sampled what my hosts proudly put on display as real mountain moonshine: Popcorn’s ‘shine. They would have been referring to home brew connoisseur Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, purportedly the local moonshine king. I had no way of knowing for sure if I was sampling the legend’s liquor, but the whiskey sure put a hitch in my gitalong.

So the news of Popcorn’s arrest brought with it a tinge of nostalgia and a bit of regret — another mountain tradition is coming to an end. Perhaps no other enduring image — the mountain moonshiner — better embodies these traits: stubborn independence, dogged persistence and a little ingenuity.

The government, of course, doesn’t see it that way. “Moonshine is romanticized in folklore and the movies,” ATF Special Agent in Charge James Cavanaugh of the Nashville Field Division said in a written press release accompanying the announcement of Sutton’s arrest. “The truth though is that moonshine is a dangerous health issue and breeds other crime. This has not changed over the years. The illegal moonshine business is fraud on taxpayers in Tennessee and across the country.”

At 61, the charges Sutton now faces could put him away for the rest of his life. He faces three charges related to the manufacture and possession of selling untaxed whiskey — white corn whiskey was allegedly what he’s been making lately — and one charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison on the firearms count and up to five years in prison for each of the moonshining counts. He faces up to a $250,000 fine on each count, according to the news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Sutton appeared before a federal magistrate on Friday. He’ll be held without bond until a preliminary hearing March 28.

Federal agents executed search warrants on Thursday in Parrottsville, Tenn. They found three big stills “with capacities up to 1,000 gallons, over eight hundred and fifty gallons of moonshine, and hundreds of gallons of mash, materials and ingredients used to manufacture moonshine, and firearms and ammunition,” according to the news release.

Popcorn made little secret of his affinity for moonshine. He had a (spiral-bound) book, Me and My Likker that’s out of print. A reviewer on Amazon called it “a snort of 100 proof fresh air.” The government also mentions Popcorn’s video, “The Last Run of Likker I’ll Ever Make,” but his only movie credit appears to be 2007’s Ghost Town: The Movie. Popcorn does have a couple of YouTube videos for anyone interested in making “likker.” In one, where he’s described as an “Appalachian distillery artisan,” Popcorn explains to a buddy that there’s three kinds of homemade liquor — “the fightin’ kind, the cryin’ kind and the banjo pickin’ kind. Which one do you want?”

Click here to go to the Xpress Files and read the government’s affidavit in the case.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

 

 

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48 thoughts on “If the moonshine don’t get ya, the law will

  1. Here’s the hoping the judge will take a big ole swig of the shiner before the hearings and let ole Popcorn off easy.

  2. Chad Nesbitt

    I interviewed Popcorn a few years ago. If I can find the tape I will put it up on youtube.com and notify. Great guy that cusses more than I do.
    The shine I tried had a peach floating around in it. It was the smoothest shine I have ever had.

    Making shine is a craft!
    It’s art! It’s heritage!

    Guarantee some of the officers took some
    home with them.

    Go bust the drug dealers and pedophiles, leave the old man alone!

    Chad Nesbitt

  3. it’s still the best … or was that too corny?

    but ya can’t beat a real ole timey recording, like maybe one by the immortal Bascom Lamar Lunsford a singing “That Good Ole Mountain Dew”

    hear the tune here:

    http://hjem.get2net.dk/poul/mountain_dew.mid

    sing the words below (it’s public domain)

    ————————————-

    My Uncle Mort, he is sawed off and short,
    Stands about three foot two,
    But you’d think he’s a giant after he’s had a pint
    Of that Good Old Mountain Dew

    Chorus
    They call it that good old mountan dew,
    And them that refuse it are few.
    I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
    With that good old mountain dew.

    My brother Bill runs a still on the hill
    Where he turns out a gallon or two
    And the buzzards in the sky get so drunk they can not fly
    Just from sniffing that good old mountain dew.

    My aunt Lucille had an automobile,
    It ran on a gallon or two.
    It didn’t need no gas and it didn’t need no oil,
    It just ran on that good old mountain dew.

    Repeat chorus

    My uncle Mort, he is sawed off and short,
    He measure ’bout four foot two,
    But he thinks he’s a giant when you give him a pint
    Of that good old mountain dew.

    Repeat chorus

    Old Auntie June had a brand new perfume,
    It had such a wonderful “pew”
    But to her surprise, when she had it analyzed,
    It was nothing but that good old mountain dew

    Repeat chorus

    I know a guy named Pete, his hair ain’t so neat,
    Though he fixes it with syrup and blue,
    But it stays right in place when he uses just a trace
    Of that good old mountain dew.

    Repeat chorus

    The preacher-he walked by, with a big tear in his eye
    Said that his wife had the flu
    And hadn’t I ought just to give him a quart
    Of that good old mountain dew

    Repeat chorus

    My uncle Klaus had a real mean old mouse
    When they asked how it happened,
    He said it was a lappin’
    That good old mountain dew

    Repeat chorus

    There’s an old hollow tree, just a little way from me
    Where you lay down a dollar or two
    If you hush up your mug, then they’ll give you a jug
    Of that good old mountain dew

    Repeat chorus

    You take a little trash and you mix it up with ash,
    And you throw in the soul of a shoe,
    Then you stir it awhile with an old rusty file,
    And they call it that good old mountain dew.

    Repeat chorus

    During the last war, we couldn’t get no more,
    We didn’t have no sugar for the dew
    With a few old potaters and a few ripe tomaters,
    We turned out some stuff, I’m tellin’ you

    Repeat chorus

    Old Deacon Crane took a trip in the rain,
    Said his wife had come down with the flu,
    But she’ll be all right if you give her a pint
    Of that good old mountain dew.

    Repeat chorus

    Mr. Franklin Roosevelt, he told me how he felt
    The day the old dry law went through:
    If your likker’s too red, it will swell up your head
    Better stick to that good old mountain dew

  4. dang! I THOUGHT he looked familar! I interviewed him on the set of “Ghost Town the Movie” !!

    seemed like a nice mellow dude.

  5. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    Mr. Sutton is a piece of Americana, who is now being monetized, collateralized and bonded for some violation of U.S.C Title 18 crimes.

    Incidentally, congress never ratified U.S.C. Title 18 into positive law in 1947, it’s null and void, tell that to the Feds though.

    I personally know Mr. Sutton and have on occasion, sampled some of the ubiquitous, spirituous, elixir, along with many other people I know, domiciled on the land in Haywood County, including some law enforcement officers, who have shown a penchant for the nectar, in addition to a blind eye.

    Mr. Sutton has injured no one, least of all the, the federal statutory monster IE human being/ statutory cash register, who is now bringing charges on him. I strongly suspect once again, the affidavit of probable cause is defective, just like it was in the Nesbitt case. No due process, No sworn complaint, who has signed in wet ink, under perjury, appearing in the jurat.

    This is how they circumvent liability in such matters, BY not swearing to anything. The following case clearly shows how they are committing fraud, upon, not only Nesbitt and Sutton, but also thousands of innocent people, railroaded into a foreign federal court system, with little hope of any semblance of justice.

    Criminal law says there must be an injured party, who then must swear a verifiable compliant, in the form of an affidavit, under pains and penalties of perjury, which then must appear in the jurat, as I posted in the Nesbitt case, this pursuant to the 9th circuit court ruling of UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Dante VARGAS-AMAYA, Defendant-Appellant
    United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. – 408 F.3d 1227

    Who has Mr. Sutton injured? Where is the sworn evidence by that injured complainant, in the form of an affidavit signed under pains and penalties of perjury? Where is the seal of the court? Does the Judge have a proper and oath and a personal property bond in place? Where is that bond?? Does the magistrate have jurisdiction to issue warrants into the several states, and if so, where is that authority, as it does not appear in U.S.C. 18, 28, or 31.? Is Mr. Sutton’s domicile a federally seeded procession?

    Do not expect Mr. Sutton’s attorney, to ever bring such points up in a kangaroo Federal commercial court. The attorney, who is a BAR CARD agent, and fiduciary officer of the court, simply plays the role of a broker / expeditor like Judas Iscariot, who then delivers his hapless client into the hands of Satan, a role played BY a “person” in a black dress, who is civilly dead. Incidentally, if you read case law these individuals are referred to as actors. Defendants are actors, plaintiffs are actors.

    This play is sick and is secretive from the knowledge of the mindless sheep who graze on the U.S plantation

    Simply put, Popcorn Sutton has committed a revenue crime against the corporation known as the United States, found in U.S.C. Title 28 section 3002, IE translated, he didn’t grease the palms of some bureaucrat employee, of a Federal agency, operating under the emergency war powers act, which incidentally the entire country operates under, and has, since it was declared, on several different occasions in the 20th century. It simply gives the Feds, Carte Blanche to make law up as they go along, under executive decree by the President of the corporation, LORD CHENEY. Alfred E Newman a.k.a. LORD BUSH the second, merely being the titular head on the utter, who makes an occasional appearance, in the role of the village idiot from Texas, for the benefit of the 23% who support him and the rest, who like fools, pull rigged voting levers, based on D’s and R’s and who are dumb enough to believe, it’s really LORD BUSH’S fault and that their vote counts for anything

    Mr. Sutton has remedy in law, under the foreign judgment acts, unfortunately, his lawyer will never tell him that. Incidentally, the Untied States, is foreign to the several states, that according to the foreign judgment act itself.

    In short, another innocent man, is taken BY the federal insurgents, to languish in a prison cell, similar to the way former Untied States congressman James Traficant was railroaded, because he exposed the real monetary nature, of the debt based fiat currency system, on the floor of the house.

    Isn’t it wonderful here in the land of Morons, who mock and make jokes about typos, while judo chopping off their pee brains and then who laugh, like some drunken, sophomoric, cretin, while Rome, I mean, Babylon burns, as the ships of fools, sinks, into the great abyss from which Apollyon will emerge shortly.

    Lets see if their sardonic laughter continues past the spring, as their whole monetary system implodes and is flushed down the toilet by the great tidy bowl man in the sky and along with it, their shallow little lives, built on illusions, like sandcastles by the sea, who dare the tardy tide, to wash them all aside.

  6. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    I did make a mistake Suttons crimes are Under USC Title 27

  7. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    Sutton is charged under Internal revenue code Title 26, that’s not positive law either, with no mention of the implementation regulations in Title 27 Alcohol tobacco and firearms. In short, his crime is not paying the tax’s on a government-regulated product.
    Affidavit is again bogus just like in the Nesbitt case. Sutton failed to cut the mob in on the action, what bunk!

  8. Kriss

    Just for the record (I don’t you mentioned it, Ralph), Madison County’s Bascom Lamar Lunsford is the one that wrote the song as well.

  9. That’s right, Kriss… and I did not mention either that I took piano lessons from his daughter when I was a little boy in the 1950s … did not last long, my sister did much better. ;-)

    and speaking of the Kingdom of Madison, I gotta go to Walnut this evening… should be a nice trip.

  10. Kriss

    “…and speaking of the Kingdom of Madison, I gotta go to Walnut this evening… should be a nice trip.”

    Are you familiar with Walnut Methodist Church? I have a bunch of kinfolks buried there, including my grandmother, who sang 25 songs for Cecil Sharp back in 1916.

  11. AshaKasha

    My papaw loved moonshine- and visited his buddies in the boonies to partake of it. He swore it was the only thing that gave relief to his arthritis, kept his lungs clear (he was a coal miner), and “settled his nerves”-

    But, alas, it can’t be controlled or taxed… and therefore- it is EVIL.

  12. nuvue

    Sorry Pops is going to have to wade thru the Horse**** Maybe at his age they will be lenient….

    Dr. Anti, I was wondering…if America troubles you so, where would you rather be???? Belize is a nice country, not much of a huge govt. You can get a nice 99 yr. lease on land there.
    Costa Rica is nice also, no reg. army. Ever go to Dominica? Gorgeous, backward, and loves Moron Americans if they will spend their money there.

  13. chuck

    maybe his family can switch to cannabis production to keep things going whilst he’s gone…

  14. NCHarleyHardtail

    WOW big catch huh! What a crock of crap. Here is guy who been an icon of the heritage of the Mountains of West NC. Now I am just a dumb Yankee Beach Bum ,musican from New Hampshire. I watched the Seacoast Area of where I grew up loose all the icons of our heritage dissappear. So let me get all this straight. Popcorn has made his shine for all these years? He has been featured in documentaries and most of all had people from both sides of the fence buying shine from him and now at 60 something and the law decides to all of sudden mess with this piece of history? Meanwhile there are all kinds of illegals running around West North Carolina? Dam good thing I am married to Moutian Girl so I can get all this straight and understand how this all works. This guy has probably bought more people than Ghost Town to West North Carolina. Well I view myself as guest in the house of Poeple from West North Carolina and I am not here to change a dam thing that is why I moved here. Sad to see the Law chooses the easy score than showing us our money producing some real results. By the way here is Popcorns Myspace http://www.myspace.com/suttonpopcorn. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL HERITAGE! I say Just my half cents worth! Mike

  15. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    nuave
    Yes, I have been checking out many Central American countries, including Costa Rica, as possible refuges. A large segment of Pan American countries, are comprised of intelligent ex U.S. citizens, many who are quite prominent people, who have seen the hand writing on the wall and are fleeing the U.S, like those who were intelligent enough to leave Nazi Germany before the collapse.

    Home land insecurity, whose role will be increasing more visibly in June, is making it more difficult to leave this sinking ship, they are implementing policies, preventing US citizens, who are the tax paying property of the government, from fleeing this sinking ship. The US is like the roach motel or the Hotel California, you can check in but you can never check out.

    I am in contact many ex patriots, who all, without question are immensely happy with their decision to leave this sinking ship. This is not America anymore, it is hard for many brain washed Sheep people, who are afflicted with the idolatry of nationalism, to come to terms with this fact, myself included.
    The simple fact, is the constitution has been methodically dismantled for the last 70 years, US citizens are not Americans, as they have no concept of the constitution, or of any of the over 1100 rights, the Supreme court says they have, essentially, they have no conception, that government is limited to only 17 things that it can exercise under the constitution and or what their role is, in relation to government

    As far as Popcorn Sutton is concerned, no mercy will be shown, because under admiralty law, it cannot be shown.
    Admiralty law, which is the form of law all US and State courts operate under now, dictates that the “RES” a thing in commerce as in RESIDENT, is cargo in transport on the high seas. In admiralty law, only two pleas exist, Guilty of Not Guilty. Stupid US citizens don’t realize, that the last real courts , the courts of common pleas, were taken away at the county level in 1970, the innocent plea being replaced by admiralty law, where the burden of proof is on the accused. This was one of the final straws in the destruction of America, also the BAR which is a private fraternity, has essentially destroyed all peoples access to the courts and still people are stupid enough to hire a attorneys to RE PRE SENT their corporate fiction and all capitalized name which is the RES in admiralty.

    Mr. Sutton will be convicted, as the bonds associated with his arrest, in addition to the statues he has allegedly violated, have already been converted into negotiable instruments and sold off to brokerage houses to be resold up to 10 times under the rules of Federal Reserve fractional banking.

    When a stupid US citizen receives a traffic citation, they do not realize the Judge receives 15 % directly into his retirement fund, the DA receives a portion, some of it goes to education and the rest is deposited in the coffers of THIS STATE, which is a corporation and a sub jurisdiction of Washington D.C. This is how things work on a Federal level also, your monetized and sold before you even appear in a court.

    The sheep have no idea , what’s more, they don’t care, they simply want to drink beer, watch American idol, do their little drugs, supplied by the government and watch cars go around and around on a track. These sons of America have become retarded slaves, they are a RES, a thing in commerce, gee didn’t the Bible say they would make commerce out of the ignorant?

  16. southern B

    Let the man go, this man is history and mountian culture, tell ATF it is a hobby.

  17. NCHarleyHardtail

    One other thought comes to mind for once I would like to see someone stay on top of the a story and follow it up with it as it progresses. Matt Mittan is best roll model for this. He does not just report a story but follows it and keeps you informed till the end. Stay with It Jason keep us informed! And thanks for your reporting this injustice.

  18. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    Mr. Roberts what point did I make in my post that you factually contest?
    I am not under the influence of anything Sir. Everything I stated in my post is empirical evidence, which can be corroborated by anyone who wishes to find out exactly what is really going on in the so-called legal system.

    Perhaps you would like to address specific issues contained in the post, rather than engage in, with all apologies to the venerable Mr. Peck ad hominem attacks.

    Good Day Sir, have a drink on me and go back into the deep sleep of the matrix of Illusions, that you live in.

  19. AshaKasha

    HAHA! Of course, when we visited papaw after one of his trips to the country, he’d crack us up telling his war stories- running around his living room with his fists flying- then he’d inevitably pass out and piss his pants! Oh, papaw- how we miss you, you ol’ dog!

  20. Dr. Antineoconus, your verbosity reminds me of this quote:

    The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct.
    – Ralph Hartley

    I certainly do not agree with Tim Pecks ad hominem attacks in general (albeit I am often enough a target of them as well) but in this case I am inclined to think he might be on target.

    We have no respect for a spewer of many unneccessy words, sir, who hides so cowardly behind a pseudonym. Come out, if you dare, and show us your face.

  21. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    Mr. Roberts, what points that I made in my original post did you not agree with ? Make your points, or your own words will convict you.
    Delineate the points you wish to refute, if you have no refutation, then it is you Sir ,that is ignorant of the facts.

    As for the coward Charge you have no idea to whom you are talking to, my opponents would be the first to tell you that the term coward, is a term that does not apply to what I do, in anyway shape and form.

    Now put up or shut up. What points in my original post do you wish to refute? Step up to the plate or it is YOU, that is engaged in hyperbole without content, in order to hide your ignorance of the subject matter.

    Incidentally, the field of honor was abolished in 1888 in this State Mr. Roberts. Fortunately for you it was abolished or I would call you out at the break of dawn and we would see whom the coward is.
    Good day Sir

  22. virtually nothing do I agree with … but I’ll not argue with a faceless entity. And a number of your statements make not enough sense to take exception to.

    and how can we duel, I know not if you are gentleman or scalawag? I have my suspicions, of course.

  23. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    Refute My points contained in the orginal post, you cant because they are true, disprove all of them point by point and Ill reveal my identity.

  24. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    Ralph you cant read
    Point 1 The simple fact, is the constitution has been methodically dismantled for the last 70 years, US citizens are not Americans, as they have no concept of the constitution, or of any of the over 1100 rights, the Supreme court says they have, essentially, they have no conception, that government is limited to only 17 things that it can exercise under the constitution and or what their role is, in relation to government

    Point 2 Admiralty law, which is the form of law all US and State courts operate under now, dictates that the “RES” a thing in commerce as in RESIDENT, is cargo in transport on the high seas. In admiralty law, only two pleas exist, Guilty of Not Guilty. Stupid US citizens don’t realize, that the last real courts , the courts of common pleas, were taken away at the county level in 1970, the innocent plea being replaced by admiralty law, where the burden of proof is on the accused. This was one of the final straws in the destruction of America, also the BAR which is a private fraternity, has essentially destroyed all peoples access to the courts and still people are stupid enough to hire a attorneys to RE PRE SENT their corporate fiction and all capitalized name which is the RES in admiralty.

    Point 3 When a stupid US citizen receives a traffic citation, they do not realize the Judge receives 15 % directly into his retirement fund, the DA receives a portion, some of it goes to education and the rest is deposited in the coffers of THIS STATE, which is a corporation and a sub jurisdiction of Washington D.C. This is how things work on a Federal level also, your monetized and sold before you even appear in a court.
    Those are factual statments refute them either they are true or false, unlees that is you dont know the subject matter at hand which means your a blow heart.
    This isnt a matter of names who I am is not important its a matter of ideas, and you dont know the subject matter so you cant answer

    Your the kind of person Ralph that would turn the person next door into homeland security for flying his flag upside down, very dangerous indeed Ill leave you to your ignorance and delusions, your simply not worth it.

  25. I spoke with a friend of mine who is a lifelong acquaintance of Popcorn’s. Old Popcorn made two mistakes… the first was that he bragged as to being too ‘slick’ to be caught again — them revenuers don’t cotton to that kind of talk. Secondly — the last time the Feds caught him, he had three 500 gallon stills; THIS TIME, he had three one-thousand gallon stills and they also found several hundred gallons in storage in a recent raid. In other words, not he was not exactly making a taste or two just for personal consumption out of a sense of upholding mountain tradition. Reckon the ole boy might be going away for a spell agin.

  26. southern B

    all popcorn will do is teach’m in the’r. lol
    I wonder if he’ll have degree program. Read Your tax form make it a hobby.

  27. Elijiah Goldberg

    I was out in Waynesville last summer and somebody gave me a few hits off the jug. WWWHHHHHEEEEEWWWWW! White Lighnin! Tasted pretty good but about blew my head off. Not exactly Passover sweet wine. They said a guy named Marvin cooked it and that he is famous in the hills. Well now a bunch of Feds arrested him because they want tax money? Don’t they have anything better to do? Let them go after crank cookers and dealers. Let the locals do their thing!

  28. brother.slope

    hang in there popcorn,iam doing all i can to help you. your friend.. bashful brotherslope

  29. brother.slope

    hang in there popcorn. iam doing all i can to help you. your friend….bashful brotherslope

  30. jay joslin

    I’m reminded of this great monologue of the late Lord Buckley, and beware, it’s long:

    Said, eh, just like I say before. I, I’m a non-drinkin’ man. Never drank for some season or other. Didn’t like it. But like I said, too, I promised to take care of my brother-in-law’s still while he went in to vote.

    Went up there and it was just where the map said it was. And I’m a gonna tell you something – it was no little old five or ten cent still. It was laid there just like a golden mountain opel, with a kind of a honey dew cry comin’ from it.

    I ain’t a drinkin’ man, like I ‘splained to you, but that big old yellow moon was a hangin’ up there, and God’s lanterns was a hangin’ in the sky, and that curiosity got the best of me, and I took a slash.

    And I got a crazy, revolutionary feelin’ in my doby. That yellow whiskey went down my throat like honey dew vine water. Humph, it tasted mighty good!

    I felt a revolution goin’ through my body like there was great neon signs a goin’ up an’ sayin’, “There’s a Great Life a Comin’!”

    Feelin’ it talkin’ to me, and I took another slash, and I got another jolt, and I took another slash, and I started to sing.

    I started to sing.

    And that big old yellow moon a hangin’ out there and God’s sweet lanterns a hangin’ in the sky, and I’s a singin’.

    Never could sing a note before in my life, but I’s a singin’ as fine and as pretty as you’d ever want to hear.

    And I took another slash.

    And then I took a big full…

    That big old yellow moon a hangin’ out there. God’s lanterns a hangin’ in the sky, and suddenly I got a tremendous revolution of emotion in my bodylike I was fallin’ in love with everything in God’s sweet world that moved, lived, didn’t live, animate, inanimate, black, blue, green, pink, mountains, fountains.

    I was in love with life, ’cause I was drunk!!

    I wasn’t fallin’ down, slippin’, slidin’ drunk.

    I was GOD’S OWN DRUNK!

    A fearless man!

    And that’s when I first saw the bear.

    Big old Kodiak-lookin’ fella, about sixteen foot tall.

    I walked right on up to that bear, ’cause I was God’s Own Drunk and I loved everything in this world. Walked right up tight to him about four-and-a-half feet and I looked right up in his eyes and I want to tell you somethin’ brothers and sisters-my eyes was redder than his was! Hung him up.

    And he’s a sniffin’, he’s a sniffin’. He’s tryin’ to smell some fear. He can’t do it, ’cause I’m God’s Own Drunk and I’m a fearless man.

    He expects me to do two things, flip or fly. I don’t do either. Hangs him up.

    I told him, I said, “Mr. Bear, I’m God’s Own Drunk and I love every hair on your twenty-seven acre body. I’m a fearless man!”

    Said, “I want you to go… I know you got bear friends over the hill there. Harry Bear, and Tim Bear, and Jelly Bear, and Tony Bear, and Teddy Bear, and Field Bear, Hazel Bear, John Bear, Pete Bear, and Rare Bear! Go over and tell all of them that I’m God’s Own Drunk tonight and I love everything in God’s green creation. I love them like brothers but if they give me any trouble I’m gonna run every God-damn one of ’em off the hill!”

    I moved up. Don’t you know he moved back two feet.

    I reached up and took the bear by the hand. I said, “Mr. Bear, we’re both beasts when it comes right down to it.”

    He’s a lookin’ down at me.

    I said, “I want you to come with me. You’re gonna be my buddy. Buddy Bear.”

    Took him right by his big, old, shaggy man-island sized hand, led him on over, sat him down by the still.

    Well, he’s a sniffin’. He’s a sniffin’. He knows there’s honey dew around there, some kind of honey bear honey dew of some kind. He’s a sniffin’

    I know what he’s a sniffin’ at.

    I took a slash or two myself to taste ‘er out and I filled him a bottle.

    Did you ever see them bears, the sillouette of them bears at the circus, suckin’ up that sasparilla? Ahhh, it’s a fine lookin’ sight!

    And he downed another bottle. And he downed another bottle. And I put two more in him and pretty soon he started to sniff and snort. Tapped his foot.

    And he got up and started to do The Bear Dance. Two sniffs, three snorts, a half a turn and one grunt.

    And I’m trying’ to do it, but I couldn’t do it ’cause it was just like a jitterbug dance, it was so simple it evaded me.

    But we was a dancin’ and yellin’!

    And God’s sweet moon a hangin’ in the sky, and God’s sweet lanterns out there and there’s jubilation and love on that hill.

    And finally my love, it up and got so strong it overwhelmed my soul, and I laid back in the sweet green hill with that big, old Buddy Bear’s paw right in mine and I went to sleep.

    And I slept for four hours and dreamt me some tremulous dreams.

    And when I woke up that old, yellow, moon was a hangin’ in the sky, and God’s sweet lanterns is out there and my buddy the bear was a missin’.

    And you know something else, brothers and sisters?

    So was the still!

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