Monday, June 11, 2007


I suppose I should count myself lucky not to have become an alcoholic with all that I have enjoyed over the years, but I think it is something you have a predisposition for, like a gene perhaps. So whether lucky or blessed, I have had a long life of enjoying alcohol. I can say I have only abused the privilege three or four times in my sixty plus years, because after the teenage wild and crazy years and the military era, I am thankful that I grew to just appreciate the wonderful varieties of taste. My sole purpose today is to enjoy the countless flavors; how they mingle, and enhance the taste of foods and good cigars.

My first taste came from a cold steel “church keyed” can my father held to my lips when I was probably five or six years old. Just a short swallow without mom seeing, but it was cold, refreshing, and the taste intrigued me. I can remember thinking how I could not wait until I was old enough to buy my own. Actually, the thought was more about how nice it would be to enjoy a can of beer with my dad. Looking back, I am not sure that ever happened.

I also had two uncles that I admired greatly and they both would come to our house and drink beer with my dad. I longed to be old enough to share that experience with them – a sort of rite of passage, I suppose.

Since, I have shared a beer with one of them, but the other let religion rob him of enjoying “life more abundantly.” Without understanding Grace, one becomes guilty of every short fall in their life, and some of the good God given things of life become lost. Such a shame!

Then there was the period in high school where we drank mostly because we were not supposed to and just because we could obtain it. There is also that added peer pressure and, of course, you do not want to be different. So, I drank when we could get it on the weekends, and finally when I became bold enough, I bought it at lunch during school just to be cool.

I can remember sitting in the back of someone’s car, drinking a quart in the dark and getting down to that hot pissy taste at the bottom of the bottle or can. You did not want to get caught not finishing every drop, but I could not then drink warm beer. Somehow you slipped the bottle out the window hoping no one noticed what was left, and that when it hit it sounded empty!

One beer episode will always stay with me and that is buying beer from the black (colored then) beer joint in “Basel Town!” Basel Town was what most folks in the Harriman area called the black part of town then. It was spooky enough to us white kids to go into the area at night, but to pull up behind the “Skinny Miller’s” and ask for beer was another step into the unknown.

As you meandered through the parking lot and neared the corner of the joint, you doused the headlights, rolled up to the little porch in back, and sat there waiting anxiously, listening to the music thumping through the walls.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the darkened screen door would creak open about two or three inches. From inside an obviously black voice would grunt, “Wh’ca ont?”

Uh, ah, six-pack of Schlitz?”

The voice announced the price, which could be anything, because no one was about to argue with a darkened screen door! So you just laid the money in the “silhouette hand” that immediately disappeared behind the door.

Had the hand, holding a paper sack full of beer, never appeared again, we would have simply drove off after a long wait and counted ourselves lucky to have survived! But now, with beer in the car, all was right with the universe once again. We were alive and we had beer!

Later, in Vietnam, I learned to drink beer warm and often just plain hot! After the foam blew off about half the can when opened, you just sucked in the hot liquid to get to the high that made you forget, for a while at least, where you were.

I am thankful I lived through all that early experience with beer and whiskey. I am also thankful I now can appreciate it for what it really is. Beer is a wonderful tasting concoction - one of mankind’s greatest achievements and one of God’s greatest blessings.


David Sullivan said...

MMMMMM....BEEEER. (In my best Homer Simpson Voice)

Les Becker said...

Beer is most definitely God's greatest gift. Ummm... I just might be an alcoholic though :)

Suldog said...

I remember my Dad drinking such concoctions as Schaefer ("Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one!") and Schlitz, both now defunct, so far as I know.

He wan't a big beer guy - just one or two every couple of months, really - but I always tried to sneak a sip, even if it was from the almost-empties in the trash.

I drank a lot of beer for a while there, but nowadays I drink just one or two once a month or so, just for the taste. Nothing goes so well with a nice big grilled steak.

EC said...

I love my beer too - and by the way, that is an awesome picture!!

BRUNO said...

When used in moderation, beer is, indeed, a welcome addition to the daily diet.

Now, that having been said, I'm off to moderate myself, and replenish those lost electrolyte levels!

I was gonna wait another hour or so, but, now you've talked me into an early start...!

Fathairybastard said...

Funny, but because of Vietnam, my generation, for a time, had it easy. They dropped the drinking age to 18 at about the same time they dropped the voting age, because vets were coming home and couldn't go to a bar and get a drink, or vote for the leaders who sent them overseas. Well, very few 18 yr olds showed up to vote in the 70s, or now, buy the 18 yr olds at my high school in the mid to late 70s knew where to get the good beer, and how to set up a beer bust at the lake. Because it was legal, they'd put notes up in school, on the boards in class, saying so-and-so is gonna get a keg. be at this park at this time. And do you think it was just the 18 yr olds drinkin'? Please! They upped the age right after my class got out of school, maybe because some folks had abused the privilage. I was a good boy though, I assure you.

Mushy said...

There are some colleges now lobbying to again lower the drinking age in order to crub unsupervised drinking on campus.

I can see their side of it and besides...I always said that if you're old enough to die for your country in war, you sure ought to be able to buy a beer!

Mushy said...

There are some colleges now lobbying to again lower the drinking age in order to crub unsupervised drinking on campus.

I can see their side of it and besides...I always said that if you're old enough to die for your country in war, you sure ought to be able to buy a beer!

Scott from Oregon said...

I wish I could stay and read the rest of your post, but I've got to go get me a cold one...

Alex said...

The Mushy semen floating around the beer ruined it for me.

Mushy said...

Leave it to Alex to find the sex angle!

phlegmfatale said...

Was it Thomas Jefferson or Ben Franklin who said "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy?"

Damn skippy!