Friday, October 02, 2009

Miracle #1 - The Blessing of the Beer on the Sabbath Day

(Part I in a series)

The first RRCC miracle occurred on September 21, 1997.

It was on a simple day trip on the Duck River. Put-in would be at Dement Bridge and the take-out on Hwy 41-A, which would be about a seven mile float. The weather was great. There had been a few light rains the week before so the water was up but clear. The upper Duck had just been stocked with Brown and Rainbow trout from the Normandy hatchery. Everything was perfect. Except...

It was a Sunday, and the future Club members on this trip had failed to buy their beer the night before.

At that time, State law prohibited liquor sales before noon on Sundays. Fortunately, with a leisurely (late) departure, they would be passing numerous Ser Sta Gros after 12:00 pm for beer acquisition on the way to the river. Unfortunately, they failed to account for that other peculiar institution of the Bible Belt: the dry county. After stopping at every exit on I-24, and searching the back roads of Beford County all the way to Lynchburg and back, the hard luck paddlers finally resigned themselves to a dry canoe trip and pushed off downstream.

About three miles into the trip, halfway between Dement and Hwy 41, they came upon Three Forks Bridge.

Although this bridge was known to be on a remote, rural highway, it was suggested that someone should get out and take a look up and down the road - "just in case." Jim Myers volunteered and climbed up the concrete stairs, then disappeared out of sight. He reappeared just a few minutes later, confirming that there were no beer stores on this highway.

But lo! What was it that Jim was carrying in his arms?

Vessels! Vessels of barley and hops. Cold ones, like he was returning from the wedding feast of Cana.

And they said unto themselves: Truly this is a miracle!

Some say it was an angel that Jim encountered that day. An angel who had too much nectar of the gods in Shelbyville the night before, and was puking his guts out in the gravel parking lot of Three Forks Bridge. They say that when Jim approached, the angel beseeched him: would Jim please relieve him of the remaining beers in the back of his truck? For they were causing him great pain and he was anxious to be rid of them. Besides, he had only minutes ago made certain vows and promises that meant he would no longer be needing this devil's brew so long as he lived, which "might not be long."

And so Jim accepted the gifts that the angel bore unto him, and the paddlers continued on their journey down the River Duck. And they drank of the Sabbath beer. And it was good.


Note: Three Forks Bridge is about two miles from the George Dickel distillery tasting room, which provided all of the inspiration and courage necessary for this reenactment.

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