Potato Wine

by kfrego

My first couple months out of the Marine Corps was one big party. It was good to be home after four years. Many of my old friends were still around Lyon Mt. Several of us had fast cars, disposable income, and very few responsibilities. We knew everybody in seven counties, stayed constantly on the go, and enjoyed life. I bought a 1952 Ford panel truck so my Chevelle wouldn’t get all scratched up when driving narrow dirt roads to camps or fishing streams.  Nothing fancy. Just an old truck with a flathead V-8 for knocking around.

We had friends in Canada and frequently visited them at home. We found an old farmer in Ormstown, Que who made the best potato wine in the north country, maybe in the whole world. He bottled it in an assortment of clear glass bottles. The quart bottles always had about half an inch of pale white sediment laying in the bottom. When drinking the wine we would shake the bottle to mix the sediments and drink it all. This stuff was high test and very drinkable. None of us ever went blind, but occasionally we would get ferocious headaches.

Once in a while we would make the river run. If we started early in the day we would go to Saranac Lake, make the rounds, then hit every bar coming down Route 3 to the Town of Saranac. On one run Johnny Joe and myself took a friend to Lake Placid for work. We had the old panel truck and a couple quarts of potato wine. It was late afternoon when we got back into Riverview. We took the River Road and caught the old dirt cut-off between there and the Highbanks Road. At the top of the hill the old panel truck jumped the ruts, slid sideways, and got straightened out again. Johnny Joe bounced up and hit his head on the radio mounted in the center of the roof. He had a one inch cut bleeding pretty good. We scrounged up an old rag, poured a little potato wine on it, and he held it on his head. By the time we hit Standish he had a headache, but the bleeding had stopped. After a couple beers at Talberts he was all healed up.

John took a pretty good hit on the head……………… thanks to the potato wine, he wasn’t feeling any pain.

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