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The Land of Wild Turkeys, Milk, Moonshine and Formaldehyde
by Leah Sellers
2013-08-12 11:29:47
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Cheyenne loved the Energetic Sound of Laughter.  No matter where she was or what she found herself doing, if she heard Laughter, she would Seek it out.
Cheyenne heard her Uncles Laughter from the kitchen window as she was finishing up her last batch of dishes from the Family Gathering.  As usual, all of the Women were in the Kitchen cleaning up after the huge Pot Luck, exchanging the latest Family News and most recent Favorite Recipes.
“Mama, when I finish washing the dishes can I go visit with everyone outside ?”  Cheyenne asked.
“Why, sure, Honey.  Here let me finish up this last little bit.  We’re on Vacation, and it’s been almost a year since you’ve seen everyone up here.
You go on.  We can mange just fine without you,”  Mama answered.
“Well, if Cheyenne gets to leave, then I want to, too, Mama,”  Cheyenne’s younger sister Marie pouted.
“Both of you.  Go on, now.  Y’all get out of here, and go play outside.  All of us will be out to join everyone else in a few minutes.  We’re almost done here.”
“Thank you, Mama,”  Cheyenne and Marie chirped as they headed into their Grandpa and Grandma’s living room, and out the front door.
“Watch out for that Crazy Turkey, Cheyenne.  Cousin Janet told me that “Ole Gobbler guards the front door sometimes, and will attack anything it sees, on sight.”
“Cousin Janet was just jokin’ with you, Marie.  Turkeys don’t guard things, but Grandpa’s Geese do,”  Cheyenne teased.
“Let’s go find the rest of our Cousins, and get up a game of Hide-and-Seek,”  Marie suggested.
“Sounds like fun.  You go find our Cousins.  I’m gonna go visit with our Uncles while you look.  But you’ll know where to find me.  I think that they all went across the road to Aunt Johnny Lou’s and Uncle H.G.’s.  Cousin Dempsey is showin’ everyone his appendix.  It’s floatin’ around in a big glass jar filled with Formaldehyde.  It almost exploded inside of him.  They got him to the hospital just in time.”
“Do I have an appendix ?”  Marie asked.
“You sure do.  All Human Beings do.”  Cheyenne answered.
“Whoosh, whoosh !”
“Aaaaaah !  It’s that Stupid Turkey.  He’s flyin’ straight for our heads !  Marie hollered.
“Quick, let’s run over to the car where the men are talkin’.  They’ll chase that Crazy Turkey away !”  Cheyenne said in between breaths, as she ran toward her Laughing Uncles as fast as her legs would carry her.
“What did you girls do to rile up ‘Ole Tom Turkey ?’  Uncle Jerrel laughingly asked.
The Circle of Tall Men, Uncles all, raised their arms and shooed the Attacking, Stupid, Crazy Tom Turkey away from their vicinity.
“What would you Girls have done if none of us had been around to save the day, Young’uns ?”  Uncle Bill queried with one of his sideways grins and twinkling blue eyes.
“I guess we would have been Turkey Bait, Uncle Bill.  I’m just glad that y’all were here to Save the Day,”  Cheyenne admitted.
“Anyways, as I was sayin’ before these girls started runnin’ to the Turkey in the Straw, I was watchin’ Johnny use that little bit of formaldehyde to tan some of his rabbit skin hides a little earlier, before the Meal.  And it reminded me of the Milk Wars waged in these parts during the Depression,”
Uncle Kal began.
“The Milk Wars ?  I don’t think that I’ve ever heard tell of them ?”  Uncle H.G. admitted.
“You Boys remember the ‘ole Dairy Farm my Pappy Archibald used to run ?  Uncle Kal asked.
The Men all nodded in the affirmative, and Uncle Johnny said, “Yep, sure do.  It was the sweetest Milk in the whole County.”
Uncle Kal nodded his head in approval, and continued, “Well, during the Depression there were some fellas from some of the neighboring Counties who thought that they could take away some of our business.  In fact, the situation got so tense that Pappy Archibald had us take his ’ole shot gun with us during every Milk Run to other Folks Houses.”
“Shot gun ?  Were you old enough to know what to do with one ?”  Uncle Jerrel teased.
“Old enough,”  Uncle Kal acknowledged.  “But the real problem was that with all of the delays the Milk Poachers created when they tried to hold our Milk Wagons up from makin’ our runs, the Milk was goin’ sour before we could complete our deliveries.”
“Ooo-Wee !  Nothin’ worse than sour Milk.  Maybe you should have set your horses to runnin’ so they could’ve shook that sour Milk into cottage cheese.  Ha !”  Uncle Bill chuckled.
“We did better than that.  Pappy Archibald went down to the Funeral Parlor, and bought some Formaldehyde from the Funeral Director.  He poured a little into every one of our tall tins of Milk.  After that, no matter how long our Milk Wagons got delayed.  The Milk never went sour,”  Uncle Kal laughed.
“That Formaldehyde loaded Milk was the start of Our Family’s claim to Wealth.  We made more profit that Season than all the other Dairies in these parts.  Pappy Archibald took that money and invested it in some local gas stations, which he later handed over to me.  I expanded our land and business holdings from there, and the rest is history,” Uncle Kal proudly explained.
“Now, you’re not braggin’ about being a millionaire again, now are you,
Kal ?” Uncle H.G. grinned.
“Did anyone get sick, Uncle Kal ?”  Cheyenne asked unexpectedly.
“Sick ?  Why, not that I know of.”  Uncle Kal answered a bit disgruntled.
“But Formaldehyde is used to embalm Dead People, Uncle Kal.  It pickles things like Cousin Dempsey’s appendix.  You’re not supposed to drink it.  It‘s probably poisonous.”  Cheyenne explained with worried consternation.
“No one ever got sick from drinkin’ Milk from our Dairy, Cheyenne.  By the way, why aren’t you off somewhere playin’ with the rest of your Cousins ?”  Uncle Kal asked challengingly.
“The Crazy Turkey attacked Marie and I, and we got sidetracked.  And I heard all of y’all laughing from the kitchen window, and I wanted to find out what was so funny.”  Cheyenne answered.
“Well, we’re not laughin’ now,”  Uncle Kal countered.
“But Uncle Kal.  You’re always puttin’ down the Mooney’s in Mooney Holler for makin’ Moonshine and sellin’ it to other People.  You’re always sayin’ that the Moonshine is poison.  That it makes People blind or sometimes even kills ‘em.  And that the Mooney’s are a Bad Lot because they do it.  So, it doesn’t make Sense that you and your Daddy put that Formaldehyde into your Sweet Milk without tellin’ the People you sold it to.  Because the poison you sold them in your Milk is no different than the poisonous Moonshine the Mooney’s sell to their Customers.  Y’all are both Profitin’ off of the Poisoning of Other People,”  Cheyenne continued to explain.
“Are you getting’ smart with me, Young Lady ?”  Uncle Kal with a bright red face and neck.
“No sir, just wonderin’ what the differences are.”  Cheyenne answered.
All of the Uncles were quiet for a brief moment.  None of them were looking at anyone else in particular.  In fact, they appeared to be avoiding eye contact with one another.
Uncle Kal was biting down real hard on his large cigar.  His face and neck were still bright red.
“Cheyenne, Marie !  Where have y’all been ?”  Cousin Dempsey panted.
He was followed by eight other running Children.  All of them Cousins.
“I brought my Jar of Pickled Appendix for y’all to see.  Look at it floatin’ around inside the Formaldehyde.”
Cheyenne and Marie stared in amazed disgust at Cousin Dempsey’s floating grey-pink fleshy Appendix, and its dislodged miniscule fleshy particles swimming around in the clear Formaldehyde like fleshy, swirling snow.
Cheyenne wondered if the Mooney’s Moonshine would have Pickled her Cousin Dempsey’s Appendix just as well.  But that was a Question she would never Dare to Ask.
Cheyenne had learned two invaluable Lessons in a very short period of Time.  First, that no matter what Doors you Walked through in Life, you had better always be on the look out, and be prepared for Crazy Turkeys to Attack from out of thin air. 
Secondly, she was done Asking Questions about anything to do with the Chemical and Ethical makeup of the Profitable Elements and Enterprises of Milk, Moonshine and Formaldehyde.

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