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Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
In Other Words, He was Drinking

Zona was busy settling into her new home. The house rested atop a hill and white paint made it stand out.

“I’m as happy as any woman can be,” she wrote home to her family. Her little daughter was a help to her as they went about the job of making the house and property, pleasant. The two were continually working on their sewing, too. There was the clothing they needed to wear but the house had to be decorated, too, with lace table clothes, curtains and bedspreads. These all were hand crochet. Zona was a stickler for dusting and that was performed on a daily basis.

‘For the woman a deep relationship with her Creator was necessary. Socializing for her family was narrowed to the trips she and her children took to the little church on Sunday which was probably Baptist, even though her mother, Elizabeth Ann had different beliefs.'

‘Zona read and reread her Bible as if she were seeking the answers to life. The page that read, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” she read so much the old Bible fell apart to the place.

‘There was understanding she gained of her Creator’s love and it was something that was clear to her as she read. Here were the secrets to feed her burning lust for life. She could see the Greater Intelligence alive and communicating through this literature. For her there wasn’t restriction but an encouragement to action, carefully planned as much as the intricate patterns she laid out on fabric to cut for clothing.’

‘The natural gossipy way of the church women never seemed to sway her thinking. Mostly she heard, looked thoughtfully at the floor for a moment and was quickly off onto another project. She didn’t stop to deny or verify what was said. If she criticized it was directed toward someone in her family and not to their back but face to face. Sometimes it was hard to take but always respected.’

‘The only sadness to dampen her spirits was the fact that John had started with the spirits, in other words, he was drinking and seemed to be a little worse each year. Now, he was spending a lot of time in Perry where his own saloon and bicycle shop opened its doors. For days at a time he wouldn’t come home which left Zona and her daughter to do the chores, alone.’

‘The long counter where men rested their foot upon a bar across the bottom may have been what brought the slang term “bar.” It was on the top of this, wide flat table-like surface John lined up small-buckets.’

“Do you have the list of people for where these go?” John asked his helper.

“Yes sir. Rat ‘chere, he patted his chest front, overall pocket!” The young man’s colloquialism was common.

“Mousey, rat? Or, “Right here?” John grinned as he corrected the Oklahoma slang.

Muddy streets unpaved in the town after the turn of the century caused his customers not to want to leave their homes during rainy weather. For this reason John delivered the beer to them in these buckets.

“You need to get the buckets to my customer's kitchens before their evening meal. Most want a draw of the spirits to go with their supper of wild-game.” John was tactfully trying to push his worker to move a little faster.

“Thet there mud is about up to my ankles in places, John,” his helper complained.

“I know. Just try to step around it, as much as possible, I’ll be here when you get back and try not to tarry. I need to do some work over at my bicycle shop. Someone will have to draw mugs for the stragglers coming off the street, muddy as their boots are. I laid out some heavy feed sacks at the door so they can walk over them. Maybe some of that will come off before they get into this here bar.”

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