Friday, April 20, 2012


“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” 

 Benjamin Franklin 
I know it is probably not “normal” but I even have memories associated with beverages.

Peter asked me recently how I came to like buttermilk. I reminisced that when we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa Hunt in Medora, Mother and Grandma Hunt would go to St. Louis shopping. I would stay home with Grandpa. He would fix us both lunch but did not ask me for suggestions. His favorite lunch was Braunschweiger spread on white bread with mustard, an apple cut into slices and a glass of ice-cold buttermilk.

My totally awesome Grandpa Hunt
I still think of that kitchen…lots of white cabinets and a white stove, a white porcelain sink under a window looking out on the backyard and garden, and the little table in the kitchen where Grandpa and I would sit to eat our lunch.

He called me “Windy”. I guess I talked too much. I wasn’t “windy” enough because he would make me practice my flute and I would practically pass out. Our Fairfield band director, Mr. Newcom, had gently suggested that I give it up. He must have realized that I would not excel in that department. I was seven then I think. I still love buttermilk…and Braunschweiger.

Beverages are often medicinal.

It was rumored in the family that Grandpa Hunt kept a small bottle of something medicinal in his veterinary office in the basement. He never offered me any of that. Hm--m-m/

If there is one constant in my often unpredictable life, it is having mint growing in our yard…wherever that yard may be.

A very good mint crop
After moving into the cabin at 98 Main Street, Anna’s father, Randy, brought a special gift from their garden. It was a large handful of mint with roots to plant in the yard of our new home. He planted it by the water spicket in the backyard.

The mint now grows under the window of the store, along the entire sidewalk leading up to the back porch, as well as in the backyard.

He died a sudden and tragic death when very young. I remember so well the day he brought the mint and planted it.

I have mint growing in our new front yard today in the desert started from the plant Randy brought to us in 1988.

Why have mint? It is a remedial tea that tastes good. It is especially good for indigestion. It soothes the stomachs of babies. Yes, my children, you drank lots of mint tea with honey when you were babies. In Spanish, it is known as Yerba Buena.


A general recipe for mint tea is to pour 1 cup of boiling water over 5-10 fresh mint leaves. When using dried leaves, use only 1 tablespoon. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the leaves. Add a teaspoon of honey for a little extra sweetness.

It helps to gently bruise the fresh leaves before pouring the water over them.

It also can be used to remedy colds and congestion and treat pain caused by arthritis.

It is an important ingredient in Albondigas soup and I always pop a few sprigs in the jar when making sun tea.

Here are a few other medicinal beverages I’ve been known to consume.


It is a very powerful antioxidant. My current favorite is Shiraz.

A beer now and then never hurt anybody either. I keep an Amber Bock good and cold for when the urge strikes. That is usually when I’m making St. Johns Tacos.


A whole lemon squeezed into a glass of water daily. Not only is it high in Vitamin C, it cleans the blood and reduces mucus.

“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from lemons.”
~Alfred E. Newman


All the good stuff is in this product. Take two teaspoons in a glass of water right after you get up in the morning.. It is called the “Wonder Beverage”. Sipped with meals, it burns away fat.

Stir one tablespoon in a glass of warm water. I put it in my coffee sometimes. Calcium and potassium are just a few of its benefits.


“Once during Prohibition I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.” ~W.C. Fields

Now that’s a subject. Do you think our ancestors would have believed the water choices we have today…or that we would actually buy it in plastic bottles and carry it around with us?

That sounds so silly when you think about it.

Do you know that there are still water sources available that come straight from the Source?

They flow freely from the snowmelt on the mountain, uncontaminated by man or beast, free from chemicals or processing and have never come near a plastic bottle.

They are natural springs that the Forest Service or imaginative and resourceful pioneers have tapped into. It is the purest, coldest, most delicious water there is.

Peter bought a very special gift for me one year. It was a tin cup to hook on my belt loop.

I can see your eyebrows arching in wonder.

My walks would take me by a place named Government Spring. It is a two-inch pipe coming out of the ground at about my knee level. The water pours out of it 24/7/365 and flows to the river.

Between the pipe and the river is a lush crop of Watercress that begs to be picked for a salad. It is a delightful little spot to rest.

When Peter accompanied me on a walk now and then to the “end of the road”, he witnessed me cupping my hands under the flowing spring for a sip or two of pure cold water.

As with most “flatlanders” (sorry, Honey) he was suspicious that the water might be contaminated and that I would get giardiasis.

By gifting me a tin cup, I think that means that he approves of my sipping routine from the mountain spring.

When we had nightly cabin rentals in Greer, we would be amused at the tourists who would bring water from the desert in gallon plastic jugs that they had purchased for their vacation. The gallon containers were proudly labeled "From a Municipal Water Source". Egad!! They believed that the mountain water couldn’t be trusted. These were usually the “first timers”.

The more seasoned visitors to Greer bring empty 5-gallon containers to take the water home to the desert.

Life is curious.
Original oil painting by Peter Pegnam

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