Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Great Day for all Mankind

You can't really call me a prolific writer. I think you can call me a lazy writer, or just a lazy guy who sometimes writes. Yarntangler, on the other hand, is a prolific writer. She has written a blog a day this month, and during several months in the past, while I have been content to read her blogs, and some books, watch TV, and drink beer.

Which brings me to today's topic. Yarntangler told me I should Google "on this day in history" in search of inspiration for my long-overdue entry. So I did, and boy, was she right! I can't pass this one up.

On this day in 1935, the first beer in a can was sold in America. Richmond, Virginia to be exact, and it looked like this:

I've never had Krueger's...neither the Finest Beer nor the Cream Ale, but if it hadn't been for that successful leap of faith in 1935, I would not have enjoyed my first refreshing sip about 20 years later from a can that looked like this:

It was around 1957...the Geez was about 10, and it was one of those moments in time that you kind of remember in isolation from any real context; therefore, the dates, my exact age, and all other particulars may not be totally accurate. But it's almost true, and it's a fun story, so here goes:

I was with my Dad, and we were in a lakeside cabin owned by our Landlord, Charlie. Charlie was an avid hunter. He probably referred to the place as his Hunting Cabin, but Dad wouldn't have called it that in front of me...we weren't big fans of hunting in our family. Anyway, Charlie had invited us for a fun Saturday outing, so there we were.

Charlie had this hound dog named kids named him that, Charlie just called him "the dog",  and later "that damn worthless good-for-nothin' dog"... that he had spent a pretty good chunk of money for. He kept him in a dog house up on a hill, removed from the back yard where all the kids from the apartment house played. It was Charlie's firmly-held belief that a hunting dog must not be coddled or pampered, lest the animal lose it's tenacity. Naturally, we didn't see it that way, and every kid in the apartment took turns bringing Teddy treats and big hugs (usually right BEFORE bath time on Mom's orders) and generally spoiling the animal to the point where Charlie eventually just left him home in disgust on hunting days.

Anyway, there we were at Charlie's cabin on a warm summer afternoon, and Charlie was sitting in his old wicker rocking chair having a beer. I asked him what it tasted like, and he looked at Dad, then offered me a sip.

Now the theory in those days was: when a kid wants to try something like beer, or scotch, or anything else alcoholic and appropriate to a less sensitive palate, give it to him. He'll hate it, and never touch another  drop for the rest of his life.
"Go ahead kid, take a nice big slug. Heh-heh-heh."(wink exchange with Dad)
So I did.
"Hey, this is pretty good!" (goes to show how much I knew. It was Schlitz for cryin' out loud*)
"You like it?"
"Yeah! Can I have some more?"
"No! And don't you dare let me catch you with beer again until you're 21!"
It was one of those life lessons that you learn well, even if you don't quite understand what just happened.

The above quotations are, of course, approximations...but I have a feeling they're not far from the mark.
Now, I could have argued, somewhat rationally, against Dad's mandate. Not long after the cabin incident, I noticed the following in a reputable national publication (Life, I think):

Now if you click on the picture, you'll learn that Schlitz is the only beer that has no germs. In those days, I guess other beers had inferior alcohol that didn't kill them all. And Schlitz pasteurized it better, I guess.

But I really could have argued that the whole family should be drinking Schlitz, every night with supper. Honest. It says so right there in the magazine.
I never actually made the argument, but I could have.
Instead, I waited until I'd reached my 21'st (actually 18th....well OK 15th) birthday before imbibing in things alcoholic, including beer. Not Schlitz. My preferred  brew by the time I started enjoying it on a regular basis   was Budweiser, and I drank it out of bottles.
But still, the anniversary of the can of  beer deserves some recognition...and it did jog a fond, if not completely accurate, memory.

These days I prefer micro-brews, having gone through preferences for several different brands and price ranges over the years, including, BRIEFLY (actually once), this kind:

...Remember generics? Yummm.

So, having slouched around drinking beer without posting since August of 2009, I hereby return to  semi-active blogger status and celebrate a date that should make us all proud.  We even beat the Brits by 11 months. (Well Krueger did). Happy Anniversary! Woo-Hooo!!

I'd go relax with a cold one right now,  but I just discovered I'm out of beer.

Blog at ya later.


*This statement is merely an expression of my personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the views of blogspot, the world wide web, Bill Gates, or anyone else who might make some money by kissing up to the Schlitz Brewing Company. Nor is it in any way meant to cast aspersions on the great city of Milwaukee, which we all know would have remained forever an obscure backwater had  it not been for that upstanding commercial institution.


Old Newsie said...


Yarntangler said...

Remember Texas Pride? A whole 6 pack for 99cents! While I have never liked beer at all, I am glad to see that you have matured somewhat. As we used to tell the kids, taste buds change!

spiritualastronomer said...

And just think: if you and yarntangler get a job in Utah, you'll be able to sample these wonderful beers. Evolution Ale is my favorite with Polygamy Porter right behind. Remember, it's UTAH, home of LDS.

Jim and Bobbie said...

We went to Grubstake Restaurant the other day here in Quartzsite and they offered a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with your porterhouse steak. I took a sip and boy THAT was pretty good. Been a long time since I've heard of Pabst, but it was big when I was a kid. Bobbie

Jon & Kathleen said...

Myself as well. I started young at sipping suds and often remember my dad cooking off mash in the cellar, that was a lot stronger than beer. Over the years I drank quite a few different brands and for that last several years I have been drinking from the "Oldest Brewery in the Country" Yuengling largest micro brewery in the country. Here's one to you

~loneduck~ said...

Your out of beer???!!! :0 The horror

Dennis Cumberland said...

I don’t suppose your sibling was anywhere in the vicinity during this infamous incident at “the cabin”. If I was I don’t remember, but it sounds like something I would have been lined up to partake in, along with Charlie’s kids Kim and Robin. Reminds me of the time our Uncle George’s neighbor obliged my request for a taste of chewing tobacco, about the same time frame. That one I remember (you don’t forget an hour of dry heaving).

Glad to see you’re back in action, your little brother Dennis.

Chica said...

LOL. They all taste like pee!! British and Scottish Ales are the only way to go!

Charlotte said...

Wow, when you get going, you get going. Well done, great story. All I remember about my teen years and beer is trying to get out of drinking it and coming from Kansas, wine was too hoity-toity. So continued with Xoke until I got to college and discovered wine.

santaskip said...

this is a good return to your blog brings back some memories!!! course in colorado we had to drink colorado-koolaid.Coors[uck],now like you I like the micro stuff. Hope we can get together before next santa season.

Anonymous said...

Now that we are semi-firmly planted in Texas, maybe you'll stop by for some of the famous Buffalo Butt Beer! What could be better? Gee, I'm glad I never acquired a taste for the golden elixer.

Your writing is still terrific!

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