I been lacking in my post and I apologize to you. I been battling an old foe for the past few months—self-confidence. I am in the process of publishing my third full-length novel. This one was my first manuscript and has taken a great deal of work to bring it to publishing standards. I always fear for my children—my books—but this one is special. I’ll write more about it later. Oh, look! A picture of the front cover is on the left side of your screen.
I traveled to north Thailand with my wife, daughter and a friend to see the Long-Neck women of the Karen hilltribe. We drove through the beautiful mountains, around impossible curves with new wondrous scenes beyond every turn.
Mist covered rivers and slopes gave a primordial feel that we were traveling back in time. Bright clear sunshine and giant Teak trees casting dark shadowed gates across the road as if we were passing from realm to realm. There was silence in the car as we beheld the beauty of this trail into the mountains.
And of course I had to watch for the manic drivers coming from the opposite directions who gave no care as to which was actually their side of the road—Most invigorating.
We traveled off the main road near the village of Mea Hong Song that is nestled in a high mountain valley surrounded by majestic mountains. I drove up a small road high into the mountains just to see where the road led and saw a small turn off which I took. My wife wasn’t too happy about being in the middle of nowhere and very close to the border with Burma (Myanmar). What…, me worried? — I wanted to know.
I drove into a family complex of five houses. There were small contoured rice patties and small vegetable plots and it seemed peaceful enough. A few people came out to stare at us and I got out to speak with them. My wife locked the doors after my exit.
In my simple Thai—I actually have a country twang to my accent, which the farmers like—I asked if we could look around and see how they lived. Usually when I speak Thai to someone for the first time, the Thai’s look at me as if I were an alien from another world. Actually, I get that wherever I go. They’re just not use to a white guy speaking their language. I spoke to an older lady who had several children standing close by and she spoke and smiled and motioned for us to join them.
I think what really helped was not my language skills but my daughter’s friend, Roger, who is a giant of a man. Around six feet three inches tall, a strong body and a former Marine, Roger is impressive. The villagers were around five feet tall and were taken by this gentle giant.
I watched a young girl dipping out a mixture from a container and there was a familiar smell to it. I watched her carry the bucket over to a round iron pot that sat over an open fire and pour the mash in. I looked at the bamboo tubes that extended out about ten feet and saw liquid dripping from the end. It hit me with a smile. They were making Moonshine, White Lightening. I had never seen a Moonshine Still quite like this one but there was no doubt what it was. Many years ago, before my time, some of my family made and distributed White Lightening in the rolling hills of North Carolina. Ever hear of Thunder Road?
This was a different kind of Lightening—made from rice—so naturally I had to give it a go. Yep, 100% grain alcohol. These kind folks let us explore and ask question and made us feel at home.
Roger, the giant, found a tiny man chopping wood and took over the chores. Roger was raised on a farm and knew what real work was. He was a star!
Of all the friendly people I meet in Thailand my fondest memories are the people of northern Thailand. I asked one lady why everyone was so friendly and she told me that there were many people from Burma, Laos, the different hilltribes and of course Thais all living together. It was a must to be friendly.
As usual, for me, my hard drive with my older pictures is in one place and I am in another. I will find them and add them at a later date. I blame it on the Moonshine, lol.
I still plan on adding more pages to my blog for short stories, interviews and information about my books but like one of my favorite sayings goes: “I might not be good but at least I’m slow.”