Alcohol, it seems, has always had its place, in Ozark American history.
Many tales of alcohol include: stories of bootleggers, secret whiskey recipes, outlaws, and run-ins with the law! They're very exciting and embellished thoroughly, with great Arkansas pride!
This is not one of those tales...
It was the late 80's, and I was a chipper little 3rd-grader!
It just so happened, that we were studying alcoholism and the dangers of addiction, in school.
And so, I went home-armed with newfound knowledge and filled with the fervor needed to "save" any slobbering alcoholics I might encounter!
This particular afternoon, I was standing in front of the open refrigerator door, scanning my options for an after school snack. I saw a few dark-colored glass bottles in the door of the fridge, and read the label, out of curiosity.....
There it was! The devil, himself, sitting in my own refrigerator!
I couldn't believe it! My own parents had been led astray! Someone must have used PEER PRESSURE to seduce them into trying alcohol!
And, it was up to ME, to intervene and save us all from the gates of HELL!!
I had to act swiftly! Quickly, I gathered up all the beer bottles I found-about four in all, and set about prying open the tops with the end of a butter knife.
I emptied the foul contents of each bottle, down the kitchen sink, and refilled each with a mixture of dish soap and water. The result was a bubbly looking concoction, similar to beer.
My theory was: once the parents had tasted the awful liquid, it would fool them into thinking they no longer enjoyed the taste of alcohol!
IT WAS A BRILLIANT PLAN.
I carefully replaced the bottle caps and pushed the edges down around the rim for a proper seal, and put the bottles back in the fridge.
The satisfaction of my good deed stayed with me overnight, and well into the next day. So, by the time evening rolled around, and my family was winding down, I was near sainthood.
I was fortunate to be sitting at the kitchen table, when my father walked in from working all day. He was covered in sweat and THIRSTY.
Friends, ...it had been a HOT day.
Standing in front of the fridge, my father licked his lips and reached for a bottle of Satan's poison.
My heart stood still. I was about to witness the miracle of RECOVERY. I was calm...poised..ready to accept my parent's confessions and apologies.
I was lost in visions of becoming a hero, and was preparing my acceptance speech, when I was ripped back into reality by the sounds of my poor father, retching into the kitchen sink.
I sat calmly, watching dad heave up the soapy snake oil.
This was TOUGH LOVE.
I thought to myself: "It's ok, dad. My therapy is working. You'll be all better soon."
I never did receive the credit I deserved, for my acts of heroism. I received no medal of honor. No praise!
The rest of the evening was spent, with my parents extracting the truth from me, while my father sat, staring green-faced, in horror.
In the end, I was even SCOLDED!
Christine Dale is the proud "fish wife" to owner and fishing guide of Reel Fish Guide Service, Jake Dale. The two have five children together and enjoy sharing their love of family and outdoors in the beautiful country surrounding Lake Norfork.