We all talk about terrorism, but what are you doing about it? I know that I’m not doing anything, but then, really, what can you or I do about it? I’m glad you asked.
We can buy beer: specifically, we can buy Haint Blue Marianne.
How, the skeptics among you may ask, can buying beer help fight terrorism? Let’s take a step back. You probably know that opium poppies are a major cash crop for Afghan farmers. The poppies are purchased by terrorist organizations, turned into heroin, and sold for immense profits that help fund their terrorist activities, while wreaking havoc on thousands of lives.
You probably don’t know that Afghanistan is a great place to grow saffron, but if you have ever purchased any saffron, you know that it is ridiculously expensive — almost literally worth its weight in gold. That’s the key — Afghan farmers can get much more for saffron than they can get for opium poppies.
Enter Keith Sherrill of Mobile, a US Army veteran who, during multiple Afghanistan tours actually doing something about terrorism, deep a genuine concern for improving the lives of the Afghan farmers. After Sherrill’s return, a Stanford classmate started a saffron-centered spice company, Rumi Spice. Sherrill looked for a way to promote saffron production and offer Afghan farmers a more lucrative crop that might turn them away from opium poppies. As so often happens to people in Mobile, Sherrill’s thoughts turned to beer, and thence to the possibility of adding saffron to beer. The result, after much experimentation, is Haint Blue Marianne, a saison, and an opportunity to fight terrorism and drug trafficking, and help build a positive Afghan economy.. Hats off to Keith Sherrill.
Win, win, win, and win. Now there is something each of us can do to terrorism — buy some Haint Blue Marianne, and make some paella.
For those wondering about the beer’s name, Haint Blue is the color that people in the South use to paint the ceilings of their front porches. That particular color, which resembles a body of water or the sky, confounds haints — the wandering souls of the dead who, unlike, say, Marley’s ghost, have no interest in our reclamation — and keeps them from entering your house. Some people, unwilling to confess a belief in haints, say that the color wards off mosquitos, which, come to think of it, reasonably could be considered the wandering souls of the wicked. Our porch roof is painted haint blue. We aren’t troubled by haints, but the tiger mosquitoes are undaunted.
If you don’t have a porch and want to keep haints out of your house, you can paint your front door haint blue. You also can get a bottle tree, that is, a tree with bottles placed upside down over bare branches. The haints enter the bottles at night (which is when haints are about). Trapped in the bottles, the haints are destroyed by the morning sun. Skeptics may want to consider what their odds would be if trapped in a bottle in the summer sun in Lower Alabama. You can buy artificial bottle trees and multicolored bottles, but real tree branches work best, especially crepe myrtle.
And Marianne is the Goddess of Liberty, historically a pretty French maiden during the French Revolution, with one hand aloft in defiance, and on her head a red Phrygian cap, the headwear of freed Roman slaves that was popular in the French Revolution. The Mobile inspiration is a statue of Marianne once graced the top of the portico of the Mobile County Courthouse, and now stands in the local museum. In France, busts of Marianne used to have anonymous features, but, during the 1950s or 1960s, someone came up with the excellent idea of using Brigitte Bardot as a model. Her face, that is. Later, Catherine Deneuve became the official model of Marianne.