Dean’s List: Gin, raisins, hens adrift and Jesus votes

Imagine, if you will, the curative powers of gin-soaked golden raisins, and picture, if you can, chi

Imagine, if you will, the curative powers of gin-soaked golden raisins, and picture, if you can, chickens swimming with all their might against the current of the Susquehanna River in a feeble attempt to escape flooded Pennsylvania and make a dinner date in Schenectady.

Those are the kinds of topics that engage my circle of acquaintances these days.

And just the other day there was Jesus at a Sunday brunch, and that spurred a brief discussion about religion’s role in politics.

The topic of raisins as medicine was raised by a nurse friend.

I’d recently had a bone scan, which highlighted a lot of arthritis. The scan wasn’t done because of arthritis, but I was interested in what it discovered in that regard. I was wondering if I had any afflicted areas that I didn’t know about, but it turned out that every location identified in the scan was painfully familiar to me.

In a follow-up discussion with our nurse friend, my wife learned of a homeopathic treatment for arthritis. It involves golden raisins and gin. You soak the raisins in gin and then eat some of them three times a day. Ingredients in the gin and the raisins work together to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, the theory goes.

I’m not convinced that it works, but I’m open-minded enough to give it a try. I’m thinking gin-soaked raisins will make me feel better whether I have arthritis or not.

The regimen is not meant to be a cure for arthritis, but a pain-reliever, and it’s been in the news before. In 2004, when John Kerry was running for president, his wife, the pickle heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry, brought it up during a campaign stop in Nevada, raising a few eyebrows, presumably among those who believe that copper bracelets, not gin-soaked raisins, are how you manage arthritis pain.

The topic came up again as we entertained a friend from Washington at dinner over the weekend. It was there we also talked about the chickens who couldn’t make it from Pennsylvania, and you can blame that on our server.

She told us the chicken special was gone. We thought that was odd because it was relatively early in the evening, and when she noted our skepticism, she lowered her voice, moved in closer and gave us the real lowdown.

It seems the place gets their chickens from Pennsylvania, and the latest shipment was foiled by the flooding.

“Couldn’t the chickens swim?” our guest asked.

“Chickens don’t swim,” I responded with some authority.

Later, because I really didn’t have a clue, I did some research and discovered that chickens can swim, but they really don’t like to. That news will make my wife happy because she confessed that the discussion planted a troubling image in her mind of frantic hens doing the breast stroke up the Susquehanna in hopes of getting here in time for dinner.

The following day we went to brunch. It wasn’t a political event, but it’s that time of the year when politicians are as ubiquitous as mosquitoes after the rain. Sure enough, there was a candidate seated immediately to my right.

I spotted the Jesus look-alike as I was scanning the room for familiar faces — a man with long, dark wavy hair and a full beard seated at a corner table.

I tipped off the candidate right away. Here was her chance to be endorsed by Jesus. She glanced across the room at the bearded man and then broke into raucous laughter.

She wanted to know if I thought that would be good or bad for her campaign.

Beverly reminded us both that we have separation of church and state in this country so probably an endorsement from Jesus would not sit well with some people.

But I say if the governor of Texas can officially proclaim three days of prayer for rain, then Jesus can endorse a candidate for Schenectady City Council.

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