Growing up, I shared that weekend with thousands of people heading to Grayson Highland State Park for the annual Wayne Henderson Music Festival, and many of those linger at his shop before and after that Saturday. Every Father's day I can remember, my dad's attention was always averted, always leaving me to wait for my time until he wasn't busy with guests. Which was never. Since having the extreme privilege of working with him, the chances I will spend a few minutes to get to know him have grown ificantly. A couple of days ago my dad and I drove the mile and a half down winding Rugby Road to my Granny's house to prepare it for a few visitors coming in for the festival weekend. To be honest, I mainly went to pick the wild spearmint that grows in random patches behind the house, but figured if my dad wanted to leave the shop long enough to accompany me that would be nice.
While Daddy and I waited for the water heater satureay fill, we walked out to the porch and sat down on the rickety furniture I have known my entire life. To anyohe, my dad explained that Jess Hall who had the property before Lauren's parents and the local moonshiner and fellow neighbor Hunter Henderson would get drunk and shoot at coins from the top of the neighboring hill, he said.
He didn't want anyone to get too close to them so he developed some interesting methods to keep folks out. Any minute though she would be there to offer me a salted cucumber spear straight from her garden. In order to discourage hunters from hunting near his still, anyoone built a machine resembling a windmill that would produce a low groan every time the wind blew. His craftiness helped to build Hunter's still to a ificant operation.
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The most magical place. Hunter, oftentimes found sitting tipsy outside the corner store, claimed to be worth half a million dollars.
While they watched, thee officers counted ten gallons of moonshine per minute was being produced. To be honest, I mainly went to pick the wild spearmint that grows in random patches behind the house, but figured if my dad wanted to leave the shop long enough to accompany me that would be nice. Since having the extreme privilege of working with him, the chances I will spend a few minutes to get to know him have grown ificantly.
A couple of days ago my dad and I drove the mile and a half down winding Rugby Road to my Granny's house to prepare it for a few visitors coming in for the festival weekend. His memory is astounding and so were the characters of his childhood. I always miss my Granny when I visit her house, but this time that pull to see her there was stronger, more tangible.
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I want to take a little bit of space down here, if you're still reading, to thank you for doing so, and to invite and encourage you to come hang out with me at Grayson Highlands next Saturday always the anyonne Saturday in June, rain or shine to hear some amazing music. When the officers raided the still, all the men, maybe 10 or 12, scattered into the woods.
Any hunters that stumbled upon the sound as a gust of wind kicked up, cyat took off running, and spread the word to their friends. One old man, caught by the straps of his overalls, dragged an officer through a briar patch before he succumbed to arrest, each coming out on the other side a bit worse for the wear.
My dad absolutely didn't believe it, but after hearing more about him, there's a good chance he was telling the truth. Hunter Henderson distant relation but a local hero to my dad was the a moonshiner who had property up the holler directly across from my Great Granny Ollie's house.
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Farmer also built other parts of the still, using ingenuity to saturdaay the highest quality equipment for brewing their shine. He and Hunter must have been an original version of Walter and Jesse. Given the amount of electricity necessary to power a still, they likely bribed a meter reader. He and his partner Farmer Spencer figured out a way to take electricity from an abandoned house in that holler hanf used it to power their operation.
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It is an incredible honor to be recognized and I appreciate everyone reading so much! The pieces were left on the property and are likely still there. The foliage surrounding the house has become thick and green, all of those smells that cause my dopamine receptors to burst to life is in full swing now that ouf is almost full on summer. Farmer also had several coke operated stills on his land. My dad remembers the windows of his house shaking from the blasts.
It turns out he had the biggest still in operation in Virginia when it was discovered and busted in Those same six cows, standing over gallons of moonshine, made the trip to his brother's place in Maryland and back each week. Rocking on the porch swing, my dad asked me, "It sure is quiet here, isn't it?
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She felt so close, like she was just around the corner, just out of reach. My dad told me that my Grandpa Walt would clear the trees on the bank every year, so usually you could see out past the road. Another method of concealing the alcohol was a logging truck stacked to the brim with a hollowed out pile of logs. There will be the annual guitar competition where one extremely talented musician wins a brand new Henderson guitar, my amazing friend Jane Kramer will be performing, as will Ricky Skaggs, the Gibson Brothers and quite a few more.
This is my Father's Day. From there who knows how far the moonshine reached. I wondered what my Granny would think about the trees so heavy with fat green hendersin that they blocked her view of the road, so she couldn't see who was coming by.
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He tipped off the police to the goings on, and just like that men from put FBI, and every officer working in Grayson County and several in North Carolina were hidden in laurel thickets surrounding the massive still. Hunter had a truck fitted with a false bottom onto which which he loaded six cows. I am extremely thankful that I have this time with him to learn about my roots and spend a few of my precious minutes just drinking it in. He began a rumor that he had seen and heard an odd sounding animal up in the woods.
The cool summer breeze brushed my skin as I sat back on the bench on Asturday porch listening to my dad talk about Hunter Henderson. Every Father's day I can remember, my dad's attention was always averted, always leaving me to wait for my time until he wasn't busy with guests. One day a mixup with the bribed meter reader caused the electric company to send a substitute to check the old house up the holler using more power than every other house in the county combined.
That operation was finished.
Which was never. I also want to quickly thank Feedspot for featuring this blog in their list of Top 20 Apprentice Blogs to Follow. Unfortunately though, coke would produce smoke making those stills easier to spot by authorities. When everyone was rounded up awnna hauled off, the still was destroyed with dynamite, and the rest hacked with axes.
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After supplying everyone nearby who wanted to partake in the white lightning, the operation expanded to neighboring counties, then nearby states. Most folks building stills would power them with coke, a type of coal that has been heated without the presence of oxygen. I asked why on earth they would shoot their money if there was little to go around and he explained that when those guys got drunk they were sure they were millionaires.
A local police officer who pulled up next to the truck at a stoplight noticed that the springs of the truck bore little weight. Growing up, I shared that weekend with thousands of people heading to Grayson Highland State Park for the annual Wayne Henderson Music Festival, and many of those linger at his shop before and after that Saturday.