How we first discovered Mead.

August 1, 2008 at 8:00 am (Mead Making) (, , , , , , , , , )

By Eydie Wight

My first experience with Mead came from a fellow writer from my writer’s group. Jim was a song smith, a rather opinionated and gruff sort. The first time I attended Writer’s Group I sat shaking in my sandals as Jim systematically told it like it was to the poets and narrators who proceeded me. When it was my turn and I read my poem, “When Lydia Was Ten“, Jim took a sip of this amber colored stuff he had in a paper cup, and shoved the copy of my poem back at me. I thought, “Oh god, it was so horrible he doesn’t even want to have a copy of it. I’m about to be drummed out of the group on my very first visit.” I started to put the paper back in my folder (my special blue plastic folder with the hippie flowers on it that I had bought special for the meeting) and he said, “Hey, what are you doing with that?” I swallowed and thought, “What, does he want me to crumple it up and throw it away so the taint will be removed from the hallowed hall? Do I need to ceremoniously set fire to it?” He said, “I want you to sign that and give it back, it’ll be worth something one day.” And then the poet laureate of Perry County, a beautiful young woman named Elizabeth, a woman so talented and radiant I had only been able to sneak glimpses of her throughout the meeting, said, in an affected tone of voice, “Well, you know you aren’t supposed to walk in here from off the street and show us all up.” And then they all clapped for me and passed me a cup of the amber stuff. I took a sip of that pure honey rush and knew that I would carry that moment with me for the rest of life as one my best top five.

Jim died a week after that in a freak canoe accident, caught in flood waters and an undercut rock. He would meet some friends every year to canoe and camp. He had taken some of the poems from the writer’s group to share with his friends and mine was one he had with him. Jim’s wife brought in some of Jim’s homemade mead, which I found out was the amber stuff in the cups, from time to time to share with writer’s group and that was how my husband Sammy got his first taste of it.

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