Op-Ed

Larry Webster: Skip the whiskey barrels; coalfield water already brown

Our solution is a solution. Since tobacco went out of style and coal became illegal, we have had the solution to our economic problems right under our noses and just didn't realize it.

It's a good thing my grandmother is not alive to hear the answer, but the answer is ... whiskey. I came in one night under the influence of such stuff and granny said, "You've been drinking." I retorted, "Well Jesus drank, too."

"Yes," she sighed, "and I never thought any the more of him for it."

Whiskey, for those granny-like people who need to know, is a solution, a name applied to a liquor distilled from corn, barley, wheat or other grain and flavored and colored by various procedures. That process seems to work well in Kentucky because certain parts of our state have a good supply of clear water containing a large quantity of sulphate of lime and earthy carbonates.

The parts of the state that used to have that kind of water — that is, coal country — are going to be attractive to distillers because the creek water we now have is already whiskey-colored and will save money on barrels.

So now, to satisfy what may well be a fad, our main tourist attraction is to lure people to distilleries to see how long they can stand the smell, and to see if they want to go to several in a row. The only way you can get people to go to several distilleries is to give them a free shot at each one and get them drunk enough to go on to the next one. The trouble with that is they might go to Woodford Reserve first and never want to leave.

We call that our Bourbon Trail. At each one of the stops on this trail, you will have a master distiller, an old guy who talks like Adolph Rupp and wears regular clothes.

Bourbon is a certain kind of whiskey made in the commonwealth, and not Tennessee. Tennessee don't know jack about bourbon. Just like nobody knows the difference between a commonwealth and a state, nobody knows the difference between whiskey and bourbon.

Now that we have realized that drinking is our salvation, city after what used to be peaceful city has voted itself wet, or moist. Moist means going wet on training wheels, and usually means that only the county seat can drink. You just can't trust those country people. In each of these towns the preachers will uproar about the decline of civilization, but any local cop in Kentucky will tell you that a DUI on alcohol is rare these days.

We have moved on and are now oxymorons, lortabulators and xanatics.

The Whiskey Rebellion, circa 1792, has been replaced by the Whiskey Revolution, circa 2015. Soon license plates and truck-window decals will proclaim "Friends of Whiskey" and politicians will scurry to see who most supports it.

If Barack Obama comes out against whiskey, Democrats will sue him and brag about it.

The trouble is, whiskey is a gateway drug and leads to sloe gin.

Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney, at websterlawrence@bellsouth.net/

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