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Moon Shining: Separating Pro's and Amateurs

Updated on February 9, 2018
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a natural-born southerner and grew up his entire life in the south where he has resided now for 63 years in Hamilton, Al.,

Howdy, friends. I tried to "country it down a little" today and I hope that you will have a big time. In my younger time, I tried to have a big time--for someone wiser told me that if you don't give 100% of whatever you are doing, then you must be under the ground.


Early Moon shining

First  published in Harper's Weekly in 1877.
First published in Harper's Weekly in 1877. | Source

Then Again

time was that I was in my second year of HubPages membership and I learned as each hub went to the public. Some hubs were good. Some were pathetic. I pray that this one beats every mark that any of my hubs have ever been thought of as "good." And the thing is this: this commentary is really inspired from an idea that I had when I wrote "Things Not to Say or Do at a Moonshine Still."

That hub was okay. Not Grand Master stuff, but okay. Funny too. Now it's time to do a whole lot better. So, in honor to the older man who told me to put 100% of what I'm doing, sir, this one's for you.

I cannot tell you the exact month or year that moon-shining began to surface in the southern region of our very young country. Don't fall out in shock, but I really don't want to know. All this is commentary is about is Identifying With Moon-shining and making absolutely sure that me or whomever is cooking the mash is experienced enough to give it 100 percent. In the Discovery Channel's "Moonshiners," the guys (and girls) are NOT amateurs!

Josh Owens; Mark Rogers; Steve Tickle; Tim Smith and Bill Canny, these ol' boys, for the most part are NOT good ol' boys (e.g. "Dukes of Hazard," CBS, theme sung by the late Waylon Jennings), these are tough, in-your-face, crusty men of the world who do not take anything from anyone. In short, if you hurt one, you'll have to fight them all. And I've watched this show enough to know.

One thing (among many) that I find about being a professional moon shiner is that the pro's are so well that when the camera persons, producers and directors are on the still site, these guys (the 'shiners) carry on their own dialogue as if no authorities were around. I did find out that the died-in-the-wool professional moon shiners' places of work are in a cave way of of town or in a thick clump of trees to make sure that the smoke from the fire underneath their "pot" that is warming up their mash will not be seen by the ATF, Treasury Dept., and local sheriff and deputies.

You will be surprised in knowing that for a vocation that can easily be described as "stressful," hardly any of the moon shiners smoke. In the time that I have watched this show, I saw one guy light a cigarette, but quickly threw it away when the Discovery Channel camera person started walking their way. Sure, these guys (and girls) make whiskey, brandy, and I think I heard, some wine. But not one cigarette, pipe, or chew of tobacco. I do suspect that one moon shiner did dip a smokeless tobacco--for he got sick on an experimental alcoholic beverage that his son was brewing and had to bend over to vomit--then I seen that white circle in the left rear pants pocket the size of an tin of Skoal or some other smokeless tobacco.

Another reason I found out about moon shining being a professional lot is that NONE of these guys ever use a man's last name. Could be that the moon shiner doesn't want to give one of his contacts away to the press or social media.

Notice this example:

Moonshiner: "Hi, Tom."

Tom: "Hi, Jack."

Jack: "Where's Dave?"

Tom: "He's in town."

Did you see how clever that vocal exchange went off with out a hitch? Now I know that I have been watching professional moon shiners by them only using first names.

Now you know about the "pro" part of moon shining, so here are a few items of interest you might find about the field of moon shining.

If there were a "con" as in the Pro and Con List of Moon Shining, these items would be the "con": in the various episodes that I've watched Moonshiners, I have never witnessed a moon shiner, his wife, mother-in-law or neighbors ever go and pay his bills. Fact is, I never saw ONE bill coming to the moo shiners. Oh, a few of them went to several general stories for copper tubing, copper for making the Mash Pot, sugar and yeast, but the moon shiner must have had a great line of credit for the moon shiner said, "catch you next time," to the store owner.

I never saw a sheriff, deputy, or state trooper tell the moon shiner to "pull over,"and then give them the third degree. On one occasion, I remember one of the moon shiners traveling far into the wooded area of his home and a trooper turned on the blue light on him and the moon shiner told the Discovery Channel's camera person to get out, I have to do the rest alone. That, I haven't understood.

I never saw one ATF group of guys (and girls), local sheriff or police ever lunge from the bushes around a moon shiner and his still. When I first started watching Moon Shiners, I thought that the authorities chasing the moon shiners was part of the story line. I guess not.

And as for New Show Development, in the years to come, when Moon Shiners have lost ratings, I have an idea that would make the Discovery Channel and myself a truckload of cash. The moon shiner, who is now a legitimate private detective, would also be an employee of the Discovery Channel and have a portable camera on still site--and when abig case comes up, this guy could do two jobs at once..

The title: "Moon Shine Eye."

That's progress.

_______________________________________________________Feb. 12, 2018


Moon shiner's tools of the trade.
Moon shiner's tools of the trade. | Source

© 2018 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 3 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, MizBejabbers -- Wow! I call that brave to the bone. I have heard that (during) the Prohibition years, the police officers, for some unknown reason, literally beat up many of the moon shiners because the police (in that time) resented the 'shiners for flaunting their ease of the trade, so to speak.

      Funny too that (some) of the police officers were being paid-off with moon shine, the very product that the cops were trying to stamp out. Kinda futile, eh?

      Thanks for the comment and write me anytime.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 3 months ago

      Kenneth, I've watched that show, too, and coming from a moonshining area of Arkansas, I thought it was a little fishy. My husband's grandfather owned a winery at the farm in the Ozarks. When prohibition became law, he converted it to shine. Then when prohibition was repealed, he went back to making wine. So, I sez to my husband, your grandpa went from wine to shine back to wine, and he sez back to me, that's right and your dad was one of his best customers." Touche´.

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