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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Drama · #2289200
Charlie's Funeral

Charlie's Funeral

         Charles Aldridge reflected on his past life as he celebrated his 90th birthday alone as usual as his children had all left him, and he had outlived the few friends that had tolerated him during his life and his wife was with the church ladies most of the time, came home to check on him but had moved out.

         All of his children left the family farm, moving away to bigger cities. His youngest daughter, who was a real troublemaker, ran away with her crazy boyfriend ending up in California where she met a college professor and moved up in life. But she remained his favorite child, partially because of her fiery take no prisoner's attitude towards life.

         He called his favorite child, who lived in Oakland, and told her that he was ending his life soon – knew that time was coming.

         “Daughter, I want you to know that I always loved you the most. Broke my heart that all my children left when they could and was hoping you would have stayed. It has been difficult all these years and well-ending prohibition pretty much wiped out the bootlegging business and the great depression ain’t helping matters.

         Can you forgive me for all the things I said and did?”

“          Dad, you know why I left? You know what you did wrong. The bootlegging business was lucrative but dangerous and you lost a son due to a mafia shootout. And another son is in jail due to the business. But I will forgive you as you are about to die. I hope that your wife, my sainted mother, has finally converted you to the right side.”

         “Well, I am hoping one thing – that you will pay for the funeral and pay for your siblings to attend. Can you at least do that for your Dad in his last days?”

         “Sure thing Dad.”

         A few days later, she got a call from her Mother, who found Charlie dead from alcohol wood alcohol poisoning after making his one bad batch in over 80 years of illegal bourbon making.

         He was nearly blind now due to untreated diabetics – they had no money for expensive doctors and medicine and her children were not that helpful – everyone had their problems as the Great Depression lingered on.

         He continued to make homemade bourbon but had few friends left to drink it with and his wife did not drink as she was a born-again Christian and spent most of her time with church ladies, leaving him home alone with his dismal thoughts and memories fading away.

         The children showed up for the funeral, as did his neighbors and cousins. His mother came with the Church ladies and the minister spoke before turning it over to his daughter, Mary, made the eulogy. She struggled to make it upbeat. But it was hard to forget and forgive him for what he had done and said when he was drunk, which was frequent.

         Charlie was a mean man, much feared by his wife and children. When he was drunk, which was often he would be a classic mean drunk. He was frequently in trouble with the law, drunk driving, disorderly conduct, and the like. However, no one ever busted him for the illegal bourbon-making operation or his gun and booze-running operation. But two of his sons were in jail and both of them refused to turn on their father for fear not only of his father but his associates in the Mafia.

         Charles Aldridge was a bootlegger booze and gun runner living in the Ozark Mountains. He had a small farm and a big family -11 children. Times were tough but prohibition made his moonshine side business into his full-time business. And they did well until prohibition ended the good times followed by the depression which led to his remaining children all living to find work in distant cities and to just get away from him and his constant angry outbursts.

         He was part of the lost tribe of the Cherokee Indians. They lived in a small town north of Little Rock. His grandparents were Cherokee, but he had relatives who were from the other tribes that had melted away into the Ozarks rather than going to Oklahoma. He was part Scotch-Irish, Irish, French, Dutch, and African American although no one would acknowledge that and no one outside of the family would admit they were part of the lost tribe. He and his wife, who were distant cousins, both grew up speaking Cherokee and English, but his Cherokee was a bit rusty.

         The ending of prohibition meant that his illegal business could now be converted into a legal business if he wanted to apply for a license and go through all the red tape and scrutiny involved. He opted to keep running his illegal bourbon operation and that continued for a few years, but he just did not want to have government agents looking into his activities too much since he was running guns, drugs, and contraband for the Mafia and had been doing that since 1915. He knew too much and if the Feds or the State were to look into his “business” he could be facing difficulties if the mafia figured he was now a liability.

         Mary’s final words were simple

         “Dad, you were a real SOB. We all know it and some of you are here to make sure he is dead. But, we all have in our hearts the power to forgive you and to recall the few happy days we had with you. If my mother could do that, I suppose the rest of us can do so too. I’d like to leave with that thought. Dad, I forgive you and hope you have received your savior in the end. That’s all I have to say, So now, let’s put the ornery SOB in the ground.”

The End

Happy 21st Birthday, Writer's Cramp!

Today's winner is
A Little Luck (ASR)
Dan's luck runs out at the blackjack table with a one-way ride to the desert.
#2289101 by Grayt Expectations for 2023 (212)

Congratulations! You win 21,000 GPs!

Thank you ALL for helping kick off our birthday celebration. I loved reading so many different ways of interpreting the prompt!


The Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, thereby ending Prohibition. Write a story or poem about the effect of Prohibition's end on one family. Use DRAMA as one of your genres, and make sure your static item is rated 13+ or higher.

For more info on Prohibition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_the_United_States

NEW PROMPT DUE in 17 hours 13 minutes 35 seconds
(11:59 am on Wednesday, January 25)

The lost tribe of the Cherokees consists of the few Cherokees who fled to the Ozarks and intermarried with other Indians, and white settlers -mostly Scot Irish, French, and runaway slaves. There are only about 25,000 members of the Lost tribe left mostly living in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas. The official Cherokee nation does not recognize them as Cherokee since they mostly have lost their Cherokee heritage and can not prove their descent anyway. DNA tests generally don’t pick it up either. They were called Hill people and later Hillbillies and were seen as a little bit better than black folk since they all passed for white people but they were clannish folks, distrustful of outsiders. And most of them denied that they had Indian ancestry until very recently when some of them began trying to gain recognition as an official tribe.

For more information you can read the following taken from an internet search.

The Lost Cherokee have sought recognition in Arkansas, but state lawmakers rejected a study that could have led to the recognition of state tribes.

The group says its members descend from Cherokees who refused to be removed to Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma doesn't consider the group to be legitimate.

Get the Story:

Group seeking tribe status still working with members (AP 10/20)
Lost Cherokee of Arkansas and Missouri - http://www.lostcherokee.com
Arkansas panel rejects state recognition study (10/21)
'Lost' Cherokee group wants federal recognition (12/17)
Cherokee group seeks recognition in own state (01/31)
'Lost' Cherokee tribe seeks federal recognition (1/28)
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