You worked for the Feds?” I asked incredulously of the uncle seated before me.
The old man and dear relative had just revealed some almost earth shattering news; the ground beneath me had at least shifted.
“Not the ‘revenoors’ and not during that Volstead Act. No, this was for a bunch of displaced government men holding on for a pension and with all the departmental changes after the last big war, not even sure to which Washington hotshots they reported. Probably explains why for a uniform they all just wore white button down shirts and black slacks over black shoes. For most of them, no two badges even matched.”
Still, unsure of his career choice, I continued.
“Didn’t you and some of my other nefarious kinfolk manufacture whiskey in your day?” I asked.
“Made some of the best ‘shine’ in the county!” was his enthusiastic reply. “When I was but a sprite we even aged some nigh on a year, though partly by accident. Seems eleven months after we buried your great Uncle Ferd and spoke words over him, a somewhat heated discussion arose as to whether his new-fangled self-winding watch would still have the correct time after this brief period of internment. It did not.
“But when we dug up and opened his last earthly abode for the inspection, we did discover two gallons of our best brew tucked away at the foot of the casket, folded betwixt his favorite hunting coat we’d enclosed for his journey. As neither jar had been opened, we surmised death had made of him a teetotaler and we were never a family to harbor waste. Sold ‘em for top dollar to the town banker who had relatives from back East coming for the holidays.”
Not wishing to know what size bets inspired such an adventure, I remained interested in the vocation.
“What did you do for the Feds?” I went on.