Snake Island

 Moonshine and Okra –  Jeff  Fletcher

   “Billy, I mean  it is entirely fictitious and it never actually happened, but this young   fellow named Gilbert back in the late 50s or early 60s worked at the cotton   gin on Silverleaf.  I was about 14 and  he was about 21.  One summer he planted a truck patch of okra on three acres  of very rich dirt out back of the gin. You know how that gin trash makes the   soil so rich. He was getting two truck loads of okra a week. The more he would  strip the okra, the more it would produce. I had to help him pick it. That   stuff would just destroy your arms. It was scratchy and would turn you red  and not too much but time would cure it. We were too young and dumb to wear  long sleeves.

   One Saturday he found himself on the   far end of Seaton Dump in a community named Snake Island where he ran upon a  gentleman selling high-grade white lightning in quart jars. He brought it back to the gin and we looked it over. It was clear but you could see it  swirling like it was something evil.  He got one of those big cokes and poured  some out and filled it up with the moonshine. He took a drink and snorted  like a mule. He asked me if I wanted a sip. I told him, “No, that it was   noon and at noon on Saturday we had fried chicken and I wasn’t about to miss  it.”

   Well, I went to the house and the  chicken was good. It was always so good that it would put you to sleep on the  couch. Anyway, about 1:00 we hear an old two banger fire up out by the gin.   When my Dad and I get out in the lot we see old Gilbert on a John Deere 730  with a 4 row disk in high gear running crossways to the rows just bouncing  like crazy. My Dad started running and waving his hands and screaming for him to stop. I told him that Gilbert was drunk and to leave him alone and let him   finish what he started. He just muttered a few profanities and went back in  the house. I hated that okra more than Gilbert did.

    One thing he did right was get rid of evidence. He’d drunk the whole quart in less than an hour.

   Like I said, it’s all a lie unless  you’re one of us. We still can’t talk about this stuff too much. You may want  to include a Snake Island reference in your story. You cannot have Seaton  Dump without Snake Island. I know folks from Seaton Dump were mysterious to  outsiders but Snake Island folks were mysterious to us. There were and still   are some great people from there. They just didn’t like a lot of questions.

Moonshine Photo

Article from Arkansas Times


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