Just when Springville was beginning to live down its last alcoholic misadventure, another has unfolded: the slightly spiked stroganoff scandal.
"It was pretty funny," said Jo Evans, city secretary. "It was the most fun we've had at a City Council meeting for awhile."Seems a local frozen food manufacturer approached the City Council for permission to use wine in three of its entrees. The city fathers agreed, but not until they were drunk with their own humor.
"Everyone was telling jokes," Evans said. "One person said if people ever found out, they would stop eating frozen dinners, but everyone else said there would be a rush on the grocery stores." Evans said chugging beef stroganoff wouldn't do people much good; most of the alcohol is cooked off during processing.
But the plant manager didn't think it was funny.
"I would rather not discuss the matter," he said. "I do not want to say anything that would put the company in a negative light."
But how could it hurt for consumers to know entrees have about 17 molecules of wine in them? How could that be news when the ingredients are listed on the boxes? And who would get angry with just one brand when a quick check at the grocery store showed eight brands of dinners use wine? And all the brands seem to be selling well.
"I would not want to say anything to upset our consumers."
Why would anyone care?
"There are some strange people in this state."
If the plant manager thought no Utahn could have a sense of humor about alcohol, he should have talked to Evans, who in 1984 was host of Springville's first alcoholic problem: the soused and staggering starling scandal.
"We had waited for the first snow to harvest some apples in our yard, but the storm blew them down and bruised them, so Dan (er husband) threw them into a corner of the back yard," Evans said.
"The next spring, I was looking out a window at a bird sitting on a branch, and it started to teeter backward. It went farther and farther until it was hanging completely upside down. It was the funniest thing I ever saw."
Evans said the bird hung there for about 25 seconds before it dropped to the ground and staggered away.
"We looked, and there were about 50 birds in the back yard. There were robins, ruby kinglets, meadowlarks and starlings. And they were all swaying, staggering or bumping into things."
Her husband went out to investigate and his nose led him to the apples, which had fermented over the winter.
"We had a yard full of drunk birds," Evans said. "They were having a real party. I guess when you don't get invited out much, you take it where you can find it."
She said she had never heard the birds sing so sweetly.
The family cats enjoyed the birds too.
"They don't usually catch much, so they couldn't believe their good fortune." They caught dozens of birds, and to show their gratitude, they left a percentage on the Evans' doorstep.
Evans said the birds had an apple hangover and the cats had a bird hangover.
"Dan covered the apples. We didn't want to contribute to the delinquency of minors or serve liquor without a license. But it was too late, the word was out."
The birds told all their friends, and one little bird told the press.
"It was in the local paper, and then Paul Harvey (adio personality) picked it up. The entire nation knew about our back yard bar.
"My husband was bishop of our ward at the time, so it was a little embarrassing."
She said all her friends enjoyed the joke, but she has no intention of repeating it.
"We never got permission from the City Council to have alcohol. I hope the statute of limitations has run out."