Share |

Beer and Whiskey

Our Grandma Ollie always had us kids pour her beer down the side of the glass to keep the bubbles from escaping thus making less foam.  She gauged our success by the height of the head of beer in her glass.  She would know whether we had shaken the bottle up between the fridge and the counter and we never tried to fool her, or maybe just once.  
Grandma Ollie was very strict; making sure none of kids took a swig.  She did leave some beer in the bottle once and I drank it after I got back to the kitchen.  I loved the bubbles that tickled my nose.  When I stole a little sip off the top, Grandma never said that her glass wasn’t filled to the tide line, a little white line around the top of the glass.
It wasn’t until I was 11 years old and we were riding around in the back seat of John Middling’s car when John gave me my first bottle of beer.  It was after dark and I can’t remember why Kit and I were in John’s car, it may have been a 49 Ford, it’s just too long ago.  I do know that it was in a field down off Cove Road and just above our house.  Bill Joslin’s farm was in between.
John taught me to look thru the back of the beer bottle to read the dots or symbols on the label.  They were numbered from 1 to 4 and I have no idea what they meant, possibly the beer vat number, but we used them to bet with.  There were only four chances to win and guessing the right number of dots behind the label meant that the other person would have to drink his beer, chug-a-lug, or drain the bottle. Thus we drank more beer than we possibly should have.    There was only one light on and that was the dome light.  There were 5 or 6 people in the car and Kit Bradley and I were scrunched in one corner because we were the youngest.  I remember staring at that cream colored light and seeing it go around and around and back and forth.  I had the “whirlies” from drinking too much.  I didn’t say anything, just opened the car door and walked home, wishing that I hadn’t drunk all that beer.  I just didn’t see much to it.
We couldn’t buy cigarettes because we weren’t old enough, but we could buy the 3 ingredients for gunpowder, sulphur, charcoal and saltpeter, at the drugstore.  We tried grinding our own charcoal, but could never get it fine enough to ignite.  Our homemade gun powder produced mostly “fizzlers, or firecrackers that didn’t go off.  Our rockets wouldn’t go 20 feet.
 Kit stole cigarettes from his Mom who bought them by the carton.  We liked the Herbert Tareyton’s because they were longer and had filters; which didn’t stop our coughing.
Our Mother smoked Camels which she got cheaper in Oregon because of the lack of taxes and would routinely make the trip with loads of orders from her Vashon neighbors and friends.  She was cigarette smuggling in Grandma Ollie’s  1941 Chevy coupe.   We had an aunt in Hillsboro which justified the trip.  Most grownups smoked, which made us think that they were getting something out of it that didn’t show itself to us kids.