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Yes, but then there is a movie named "A fish called Wanda", go figure!

The TV series "Moonshiners" airs on the Discovery channel weeknights. No, we are not sponsors. Its all about Bobby Jo, Billy Jo and cousins Jethro and Bubba prancing around the Ozarks or some swamp in the south in their SUV, gun racks in tow, avoiding detection. So much for that – they are on camera!

Moonshiners have been around for a long time. The end product comes under different names. Hootch, ‘shine, moonshine, white lightning, piquette (French) etc. It seems the descendents of the Pilgrims (those people often depicted in popular culture with funny hats and the nasty habit of burning women at the stake) caught on quickly as it became a useful trade commodity with native populations. The French in New France caught on too. Known as "eau de vie" – "water of life" it too was used in trade. Not to be outdone, the Scots brough in rum as well as "fire water".

Shine is still being produced just about anywhere, legally or not. Legal shine is sometimes known as grain alcohol. There are many brands available, such as the widely known "Everclear" in the U.S, which is some of the purest stuff you can get.

Hootch can vary from very good to downright awful. Moonshine has a long history. Al Capone did very well on it thank you very much! He even killed for it until Elliot Ness, maybe a teetotaler, caught him. Not on booze running mind you, but on tax evasion. Some people on St-Pierre-Miquelon, two puny French islands off the coast of Newfoundland got very very rich during the Prohibition. They had two seasons: fishing and  booze running. Imagine the "speakeasys" in the US serving exquisite French cognac duyring the 30s!

And finally, there is my hometown, La Broquerie, Manitoba. When I was a kid, my father told me about a rumour around town. Apparently, in the 1930s, a group of young men would take off for a few days  to the bush about 12 kms east of La Broquerie – where there is a huge swamp surrounded by cedar and pine trees.They would come back with a sled loaded with cedar for lumber… One sled? Doesn’t sound right…These people were poor as dirt, a family of 8-10 kids with a few cows, a few pigs and chickens.

That swamp with treed edges are clearly visible from Google maps today!

Years later, a sawmill in La Broquerie sent out crews of cutters to harvest cedar in the area – your author included. We came upon an old structure and remnants of copper, tubing and vats. And lo and behold, the rumours proved to be more than just that!