San Francisco Still

He owns a still in San Francisco. His father owned it before him and his father before that. They can trace their heritage back to the gold rush days when his ambitious but realistic great grandfather wanted to cash in on the gold excitement without bending his back over an unpredictable stream of cold water.

The prospectors needed their nightly comforts so Gentleman Jim provided honeys and hooch anywhere mining camps sprouted. He accelerated the fermentation process of whatever grain was available with his own intoxicant of unspecified origin. He recruited cuties from St. Louis with his wildly embellished descriptions of life with soon-to-be millionaires filtered through his  younger brothers, still in school there.  Enthusiastically, they hawked his enterprise to strong, optimistic boys who sought success beyond the sunset and hopeful maidens who wanted more than their mothers had.

Soon enough Jim was known for his promises of fortune which enticed so many young folks to leave their homes. Not long after that his reputation transposed to "dirty, thieving liar" who, after relieving you of your funds, would move on into the night. Stranded in God-forsaken territory that may or may not yield gold, the young prospectors met swarms of cicadas and crawling insects and mammals who wished them no good. More than one writhed in pain, holding his gut, cursing Jim and his bottled spirits as he met his own eternal Spirit. 

Meanwhile Jim traveled as far west as he could. When the ocean stalled his progress, he staked out a plot in the hills over the growing mining community that was to become San Francisco. With his moonshining days an unmentioned memory, Jim reinvented himself as an aristocrat. And deeded  his still to his son, "In its retirement, may this still bring you peace and comfort and wisdom."

And, thus, has stillness become a spiritual value for us all.  



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