Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Devil in Vanilla

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Devil in Vanilla


NEWS ITEM. In the daily newspaper this past weekend there was an article about police in a Connecticut town who gave a DWI ticket to a 50-year-old woman.

I’m going somewhere with this so don’t give up.

The newspaper article said the woman was drunk on vanilla extract. I think the police report said that the lady was taking a brief nap in a parking lot and cops found several empty vanilla extract bottles with her inside the vehicle. They said they could smell vanilla extract on her breath.

Don’t laugh (actually, I hope you DO laugh occasionally when you read this column). The amazing truth is that people DO get drunk on vanilla extract. Or, at least they did, once upon a time.

The little brown bottles are now back on upper shelves at the local supermarket, but they weren’t always so accessible. The content statement on the box lists alcohol as the second ingredient, but the percentage of alcohol is not listed.

I said I was going somewhere with this, and here we are:

Drinking in the baking products aisle

When I was a newlywed in Nashville, my wife from the big city decided to bake a cake. She went to the grocery store to get the ingredients. She could not find the vanilla extract.

She asked the checkout clerk where vanilla extract was.

“Honey, we can’t keep the vanilla extract out on the shelves,” the clerk said. “There are some people who come in here and drink it, so we have to keep the stuff under the counter where they can’t get at it.”

The clerk explained that some people would come into the store and drink the vanilla extract right out of the bottle. Then they’d put the empty bottle back on the shelf. Sometimes, by the time they’d left, most of the vanilla extract bottles would be empty. And the gentleman (it was always a man) would be slightly tipsy.

The clerk continued her tale for my stunned wife. “Our customer who bought a bottle of vanilla extract would get home to bake a cake — just like you claim you’re going to do — and they’d find out the hard way that the extract bottle was empty.”

The customer was not happy.

My wife bought a bottle from under the counter after assuring the clerk that she was going to use it for baking a cake. “I’m not worried about you, honey,” the clerk said. “I was thinking about that no-account husband of yours.” (This is when Jane came to understand that in a small town everybody knows — and has an opinion about — everybody else.)

I do not remember the cake, but I am sure it was swell and I probably did not turn down a second slice, no matter the alcohol content.

Over the years, vanilla extract has returned to the open shelves of stores. In fact, the store manager was amazed when I told her this story. I felt I needed to explain why I was poking around in the baking products section, looking closely at the rows of bottles of vanilla extract.

At the time of my wife’s experience there was only one brand and one size of vanilla extract.

Today, there are several makers. And bottles come in 2-4-8 oz sizes.

You can get vanilla extract in several flavors:

Almond, banana, cinnamon, anise, coconut, maple, orange, peppermint and hazelnut. Those thirsty gentlemen of yesterday would have been amazed.

But their breath would have been okay.

Jack Daniels does not make vanilla extract.

So I’m told.

6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6

MAY THE FORCE be with you.

Maybe you noticed all of the work going on down on South Main by city crews last week.

Lots of repair work to water and sewer lines. And the street.

Nashville’s Water Supt. Greg Strawn says that a water main exploded with such force that it blew a big hole in an adjacent sewer line.

Before and during repairs, perhaps a million gallons of treated water was lost, Greg sez.

Makes you appreciate how the city keeps its services going. Greg has been a magician. We’ve got plenty of safe, good-tasting water.

6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6

I SEE WHERE subscribers of the ‘Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’ in our area have been told that Monday thru Saturday home delivery of the paper will be discontinued after March 10. They were notified in a recent apologetic letter by the publisher, Walter Hussman Jr.

Newspapers are struggling everywhere.

We thank you for your support.

6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6

THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) email: “There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.”

6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6

WORD GAMES. Another set of twins: All Work and No Play. They keep asking about some dull boy named Jack, so I guess it means they don’t know Jack.

6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6

HE SAID: “All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.” Albert Camus, philosopher.

6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6

SHE SAID: “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.” Louisa May Alcott, author

6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6


Previous articleNashville News-Leader • Jan. 30, 2019
Next articleObituary: Louis E. Funderburg, 94, of Mineral Springs