Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 29

A Christmas secret revealed with a bang
BY WENDY HARRISON

M

y mom, Jean, is a teetotaller. If
she had lived a hundred years
ago, she would have been a crusading member of the Temperance
League. The only alcohol allowed
across her threshold is vanilla flavoring, and that in very small amounts.
The whole family knows this about
her, which makes my father's decision to make scuppernong wine at
home puzzling. Possible motives for
this aside, there was one obvious
question: How would my dad drink
the wine once it was ready?
I was at the University of Georgia
in Athens when my father, John,
decided to become a vintner, so I
entered this scenario after he had
already "bottled" the concoction. He
put it in brown bottles with cork
stoppers sealed with wax. I didn't realize he had done this until I came
home to Cuthbert for Christmas break
one year in the late 1970s. He proudly showed me the stoppered and
sealed bottles, which he had placed
on the floor of the built-in china cabinet in the dining room.
During Christmas break, both my
dad and I worked part time at a local
hardware store. Daddy worked there
weekends throughout the year, but I
worked there only at Christmas. My
job was primarily to sell and wrap
items from the gift section of the
store. If the other clerks were busy,
however, I might have to sell real
hardware-items, such as a "night
pot" or a "nipple," that I did not know
were available retail until I had this
job. This was a great Christmas job,
partly because I enjoyed the laidback atmosphere of the store, but
mostly because the hardware store
was connected to the town's only toy
store. This store had been the source
of magic and wonder since I was a
child, and I still loved being close to
it, especially near Christmas.
That year Christmas Eve fell on a
December 2017

Wendy Harrison, right, enjoys a Christmas
visit home from college with her friend
Melinda Burgin Sherwood. One such visit
was particularly memorable for her family
when her father's bottles of wine exploded.

Wendy Harrison poses for a Christmas
photo several years before her father took
up the hobby of making his own wine.

workday, so Daddy and I were working while my mom prepared for the
annual Christmas Eve dinner. That
year only Mamma, Daddy, my favorite uncle and I would be there; my
uncle was between wives, so he
would be solo this time. He always
drove down to our house from Columbus for this event. The menu was
casual: baked ham, both white and
rye bread for sandwich-making, a
pickle tray, deviled eggs and-at my
insistence since being introduced to it
at The Grill, my favorite Athens restaurant-Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard to accompany the regular
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

French's mustard and Hellmann's
mayonnaise.
We all gathered at the dining
room table, with my dad on the end,
my mom on his left and my uncle
next to her. I sat at Daddy's right. The
cabinet with the wine was behind my
mom and to my dad's left. After the
blessing and as we began passing
around the egg tray, we heard a series of pops. Now, this was in the
days when no one would have imagined such sounds as gunfire. But we
didn't know what it was-until my
dad glanced over and saw a cloudy
liquid seeping out from under the
bottom door of the china cabinet. It
oozed right across the hardwood
floor toward my mother's chair.
Although Daddy jumped up with
his napkin in hand, there was no hiding the fact that the wine was out of
the bottle. When he opened the cabinet door, we saw that all eight bottles
had "exploded." The corks were
sprinkled across the floor, and the
bottles' contents were seeping out
the door and into the light of Christmas Eve.
We all looked at my mom. She
sat like a stone. The only word out of
her mouth was, "John." Finally, she
sighed, pushed herself up and
brought my father the trash can from
the kitchen so the offending bottles
could be discarded.
My uncle and I looked at each
other across the table. No one else
would likely realize it, but we had
witnessed our own version of a
Christmas miracle. Now Daddy would
no longer have to figure out how to
drink wine in Mamma's house.
Wendy Harrison and her husband, Gerald, live in Tifton and are
members of Colquitt EMC. She is a
professor and chair in the Department of English and Communication
at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural
College in Tifton.
29


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - December 2017

Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 3
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 5
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 6
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 7
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 8
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 9
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 10
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 11
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 12
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 13
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 14
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 15
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 16
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 17
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 19
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 20
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 21
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 22
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 23
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 24
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 25
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 26
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 27
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 28
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 29
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 30
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 31
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 32
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 33
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 34
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 35
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 37
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 38
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 39
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40C
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40D
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40E
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40F
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40G
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40H
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 41
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 42
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 43
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover4
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