>Gin raisins

>A couple of weeks ago, I made my first-ever foray to the local Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits store. Row after row of shelves stocked high with huge bottles of alchohol immediately overwhelmed me. I mentally latched onto signs hanging over sections like a drowning person grabbing a life preserver. While the “GIN” section was not as larges as some others, it still contained a myriad of different colored and shaped bottles. Each of them looked as large as a two-liter soda container.

Just as the prices on the shelf edge were putting me into sticker-shock, the customer at the counter walked out and the clerk asked if she could help me.

“I’m looking for a small bottle of gin,” I said.

“How small? A pint?”

“Sure.”

“They’re back here, behind the counter,” she said. “Did you have a particular brand in mind?”

“I’m only using it to soak raisins,” I admitted sheepishly.

“It doesn’t have to be expensive then,” she said. “One of the cheaper brands would probably do.”

Visions of horror associated with the phrase “cheap gin” filled my mind and I quickly said, “Perhaps a moderately priced brand.”

“Well, I would say that Seagram’s has a moderate price.”

Seagram’s. That’s a familiar name.

“I’ll take it.”

I left the store feeling like a Skid Row addict, carrying a narrow plain brown paper bag that proclaimed: “I CONTAIN ALCOHOL!”

I was using the gin as part of an arthritis remedy. Gin is poured over a pound of golden raisins in a shallow dish; the dish is covered with a paper towel and set aside until the gin evaporates. Then the sufferer eats nine raisins every day. Paul Harvey made the folk remedy popular when he mentioned it on his radio program several years ago, and I’d finally decided that anything was worth a try.

As I poured the gin over the raisins, a wonderful smell wafted up. It reminded me of mountain forests and Christmas. I touched a finger into the clear liquid and tasted it; definitely not like either mountain forests or Christmas.

I’ve been stirring the raisins and checking on them daily. When the liquid had almost completely evaporated, I used a spoon to pick out nine raisins and ate them. Their taste could not be remotely associated with mountain forests or Christmas. They tasted like juicy raisins.

I’ve been eating nine gin-soaked raisins daily for the last few days, and I must admit that I am having less than normal arthritis pain, especially considering today’s below zero temperatures.

Being a bit of a skeptic, however, I’ll need more evidence before I become convinced that it’s more than mere coincidence.

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