MY EARLY CAREER:
DRINKING, THAT IS!
DRINKING, THAT IS!
Walking up the road this morning brought to me memories of more than 60 years ago. Each Sunday through the summer months there happened about one mile up the road from our farm, what we called a "picnic" in a place called a Grove. It was really a miniature carnival, with lots of food, booths, bingo, and a very sparse assortment of "kiddie" rides, and a nice small pasture for our horses.
The main attraction was--what else?-- the BEER tent. It commanded the central piece of acreage. Being very young, I remember this home under canvass, being like an acre in area. (It was not!) Whatever, it was the most busy place, with hundreds of men, mostly farmers and suppliers, very few women, standing around talking extremely loud from 11 AM until 10 PM. Every summer Sunday.
These events were sponsored in turn by Kiwanis Club, Democratic Party of Delhi Township, Republican Party of Delhi Township, Masonic Temple--you get the idea. Small town beer brawl.
My father and I walked many a Sunday to this affair, sometimes accompanied by my year-younger sister. When we began these adventures we were about ages 10-12. Often we (my sister!) would hook up one of the mules, Jack or Kate, or sometimes one of the horses, Pete, or Jerry. We had an old-fashioned, covered, small, wagon-type vehicle with four wide-rimmed wheels--about four feet in diameter. I DO recall it had a one-horse-power engine, which used as fuel a product called oats. These were fun days before alcohol became a real problem for me.
However, I did display alcoholic thinking--without the heavy daily drinking--at this time. The world revolved around King Me! It was common for us kids to have a beer or two, or more, in my case. The sponsoring organization of the day had a "Twenty-One-For-A Dollar" gimmick, whereby anyone and/or everyone could participate. It was easy. By paying a buck, their name, or business name was announced over a terribly loud speaker system. 21 beers were sent around the tent's yardage of plywood table. And anybody could just amble up to the plywood counters, grab a beer, and have at it. And I did. And I spent most of my day there. it was exciting to be around the "Big Boys".
I remember being 'adopted' by a group of older girls (ages 15-17--I was 12) as a kind of mascot. They liked me (my perception?) to hang around them--drunk. that's when I learned a few things--how to hug, how to cop a feel, how to kiss, and etc. Needless to say, this was all part of the "happy" part of my childhood--grin! How I hated to see summer end. But there was always next year, next summer. And I lived for Next Year, believe me.
A SIDE NOTE: My "next years" turned into nightmares of a "maintenance" daily gallon of White Port, OR a daily quart of Vodka, plus a lot of other drinking--so I became a bartender!
This story so far is lacking an important ingredient. My father. Amid all this: the walk or buggy ride, the music, the noise, the constant free-flow of malt and hops, the girl-gang who "liked me" (Ha!), Pop--as I called him--remained always a constant anchor. The end of our stay would arrive--we always made our exit before the party became a small non-atomic war.
My father had by then bought his share of TWENTY-ONES FOR A DOLLAR...on "Steve Elsaesser Dairy Farms...Buy Direct and Save".....and we all drank MORE than our share, I guess--after all, I was not concerned about who else was drinking...or not. I know Pop came home with us--he, sober, more or less. And we had only one mile to walk, or take our "fun" buggy ride in the dark. The engine of "one-horse power", had waited patiently in the shade for us.
My father would say to me, "Are you OK to steer this thing home? Did you water the horse?" I'd answer "Yep!" Understand...that this man who operated a large dairy farm, who advertised his business with "21-for-a-dollar" beers, who made certain his children were having fun, who somehow coaxed us home and into bed--this man, my father--was sightless, totally blind!
He always...always told me that I was not an alcohlic, that all I needed to do was drink in "moderation". Oh, how I hated that word!
Because, unknow to him, there was no "moderation" in my dictionary.
He had not yet totally lost his hearing. That would come later. That story is worthy of a blog. (Hey, THIS story turned into a blog. Whaddaya know!)
Peace and LOVE, and sobriety today, Peeps
Let's get out there and DO it!
NO TRIVIA TODAY, maybe I shold just leave this out. After all, what the F'k does it have to do with alcoholic recovery, helping others, God, spirituality, or even anyone's interest???