Songs in the juices


My grandmother, Alice Matilda, took home-grown cabbage and made sauerkraut.

She picked up apples and made home-brewed apple cider.

She even collected dandelions and made dandelion wine.

Grandma told me the juices from the kraut, the cider, and the wine were good;

Especially when they got songs in them.

Songs in juices, whatever could that mean?

In my imagination, I moseyed up to the juices and listened for the songs.

Classical, country, gospel, I certainly did not know.

Yet, I suspected that it was gospel music because,

Once ingested, they led to dancing, glee, and not altogether decipherable utterances.

Were they charismatic-like jubilation?

A holy wine, like Jesus made in the stone jars?

Surely the songs were not literal, but only metaphorical.

Oh, to imagine the tongues, the dancing, the glee, and spontaneity.

I imagined how those song-filled juices might taste.

I wondered if I might gyrate, or glossolate.

Sauerkraut. I like it okay, but never had the kind with songs.

Dandelions. Only blew the spores off. Maybe should have tasted.

Apple cider is good. Even had it when it is so-called hard.

I think that is the kind with songs in it. Grandma died years ago, so I cannot ask.

I do know it gets a twang and bloats the plastic jugs.

I can imagine how it might blow off the top and make a mess;

Iffin it lasted that long. Of course, it doesn’t.

Long, deep swallows exhaust the supply, and gives voice to the songs.

I ain’t got much melody. The best I can do is make a “joyful” noise.

Yet, it sounds better when provoked by the song-filled liquid.

Grandma would tell the stories about the juices and “cackle”.

I think the stories must have stimulated found memories of swiggin’ the juices.

I bet that she produced songs, dances, and maybe even strange utterances.

Perhaps she stopped indulging in the “songs-filled juices” because her body couldn’t take the stress.

Or, maybe she wanted to maintain her dignity, if she ever quit at all.

Perhaps she indulged in secreted imbibing, kind of like going into to her closet to pray.

I wish she were here to ask her more questions.

Maybe the best I can do is to grow some cabbage, pick up apples, and collect dandelions.

And, see if I have some of grandma’s old skills.

Home-grown experimentation with songs-a-plenty. I might just learn to dance, too.

Richard L. Brewer