After a harrowing week, the sun finally came out on Saturday, and we drove to nearby Georgetown for a sip and a sit at Mesquite Creek Outfitters. With the doors open, the lovely breeze made it hard to believe the streets had been covered in ice only 36 hours prior. New bars are much different than when I was young; everywhere you look, we see families and strollers, babies who look just weeks old. Many craft beer venues have playscapes as well. Can you imagine your parents taking the whole family out to get stouts and ciders? Or your grandparents?
The generational shift is here, and the vibe is casual and upbeat. No bar fights, no drowning the thoughts of an ex and playing six sad songs in a row on the jukebox (although there is a time and a place for that). This place was warm and inviting, and after an IPA and a sour, I began to breathe freely.
The reputation of Pabst Blue Ribbon in 2022 is more for nostalgia’s sake than for any prestige that it might hold in a world of craft IPAs, ciders, stouts, and porters. Around here, they price It low for hipsters to drink it ironically. But the Tibbetts seem to be enjoying it. And who were they? Well, Lawrence was an opera singer, actor, and radio host. His mustache never suited him, and he evidently drank heavily for years. In fact, he fell in his apartment and hit his head on a table, which proved fatal. I doubt anyone here has ever heard of him. But Laurel and Hardy did.
In Douglass Crockwell’s “Winter Evening At Home,” we see that Dad has just finished popping popcorn over the coals of the fire, and Mary has offered a pan of it to be salted by her beau. Everyone is enjoying a chilled glass of ale. What a fun after-dinner treat while they watch Arthur Godfrey. But what’s got Dad so forlorn? Is it because Mary is growing up so fast, and this is her last winter at home before she moves to Michigan to attend university? Is it because his right arm is sore from holding the pan off the ground, and he doesn’t have the energy to pour it into the bowl? He ought to be proud, since he clearly didn’t burn even one kernel. Quite a feat, Dad! Maybe he’s rethinking that low profile carpet and wishing they’d gone with a plush.
Or is it because Doris isn’t here to witness any of it, and she so loved popcorn? Why, that was her chair, only 14 inches off the ground because she was so petite. She even sewed the seat cover. But what a firecracker, that Doris! Remember how Dad was so reluctant to wear the vest she gave him for Father’s Day because he said yellow was too “showy”? Now he regrets his words. Goldenrod isn’t showy; it’s just right. It’s the color of popcorn and beer and wintertime cheer. And Mary’s hair color! So let’s all raise a glass to yellow!
It’s party time again, and the gang loves it when Alan’s punchmaster for the night. He might only be 20, but he knows where to score the Everclear and kick the night into high gear. Some have claimed that after two glasses, that wallpaper becomes 3D. They advise against a third.
It’s funny how ideology goes back and forth: margarine is better than butter, then butter is better than margarine. Egg yolks are good, then they’re bad. Beer is better in bottles, then cans, then back to bottles. But in June of 1938, the consensus was cans were cool. Cans, you see, did not expose beer to harmful light.
These days, you can’t throw a stick without hitting a mom clutching a glass of vino to temper the hours of “social distance learning” with the reality of 2020.
I, for one, am happy to have a senior, whose studies I can entirely ignore. The days of monitoring or supervising are nearing an end. College acceptance takes precedence over anything left in this rotten semblance of a schoolyear. Any reminders for tests or homework go unheeded. So why bother? After a constant barrage of uninformative teacher emails and daily school texts, stating, “Yes, another coronavirus case has been detected on campus,” we shrug and move on. Every day is the same. It’s easily the worst time to be a high school senior since the threat of being shipped off to Vietnam, and I imagine the emotional and social repercussions will be heavy and long-lasting. God, do I need a drink!
In any event, I am not drinking wine nor spirits. Fate has deemed that all alcohol gives me a headache lately, and it could not be timed any worse. So coffee and tea it is, with my beloved Coke at interims. Yes, 2020 has been a nightmare on every level. But at least we have the luxury of Netflix and Amazon in quarantine. We can still be comfortable and feel relatively safe, even without the company of fermented grapes.
During WWII, however, moms had more at stake, fearing for their husbands overseas as well as wondering if bombs would drop on our very soil. Were they encouraged to sample pinot? Alas, no. The power of pulling it together lay in Alka-Seltzer.
Alka-Seltzer kept the “unjust words” at bay. And it had already been time-tested. Even Will Rogers had stamped his approval a decade prior.
The post-war would see the addition of Speedy. Serenity now! Pronto!
But it wasn’t just for ladies about to lose their minds. Anyone indulging in food or drink could make use of it. Instead of a daydrinking suburban mommy, your pre-diabetic uncle kept a roll of A-S in his pockets. Just in case.
As Americans continued to eat up, sales continued to soar. While my association with the product is limited to the “Plop plop, fizz fizz” of the 70s, children of the 60s would have seen a more animated endorsement.
These days, when every other commercial pimps a prescription drug, meant to feed your fears as well as line the pockets of Big Pharma (O-O-O-OZEMPIC!), you have thousands of other choices to provide comfort for what ails you. Most of you probably take a daily prescription to address the imperfections of your mortal coils. But do any of you still take Alka-Seltzer?
Let me qualify that. Male Puerto Ricans. Puertorriqueños. From his bangs to his jaunty mustache, to his feminized clunky yellow sandals, to his flesh belt matching flesh socks, to his choice of stool, everything is wrong wrong wrong. Even 41 years later, his lady friend looks stylish and composed. But Enrique, not so much. I mean, look at his jean hem! Look at the cut of it!
I know Puerto Rico wants to be able to vote, and I don’t blame them. Really, the main barrier I can see is that we’d have to add another star to our flag, and OCD people would go nuts with an odd number of states. It wouldn’t line up correctly on the flag. We’d have to adopt yet another state to make it even. Or Texas could secede! Most folks my age still think we have nine planets; we’re not going to suddenly remember 51 states. Or we’ll say it with finger quotes, as if it isn’t real yet.
But maybe Enrique’s problem was that he was lit, juiced up on the rum for which he was plugging in this ad.
The thing is, they knew they were being photographed. Ingrid should have offered spously guidance. Could they even possibly still be married, after this atrocity? Or is the rum that good?
A patron of a Viennese wine garden refills his glass from a weinheber. A fat cigar, fine wine, a plate of cured meats, perhaps some friendly company. What else could one want? The article from which this came declares this image as an example of the German word, gemutlichkeit, which we’re all going to learn today.
Behance.net defines it as, “A feeling of friendliness and coziness that comes from drinking in a beer garden.” They created this next poster, which you might find helpful, should you choose to add more words to your vocabulary. Perhaps a little humpen and hopfen is in order.