Tag Archives: Drinking

Remembering Friends With an Annual Toast

Back in 1981, almost a month after we gathered at Silvio’s for New Year’s Eve, we were again together to celebrate my 18th birthday.

I was the oldest of the group and the first to hit the legal 18 mark.

I was also the first to register to vote as well as sign up for Selective Service.

The following year, Chris and I took driver’s education and we both got our licenses.

My dad sat me down about the awesome responsibility it was to be able to drive.

He didn’t mind me driving, but I could only use the car if there was a destination, such as to the movies and back.

He also said that if I was going to drive, that I couldn’t drink any alcohol, which wasn’t a problem for me. I was young and thin back then and a drop of alcohol would have brought me to my knees.

We lost a classmate later that year due to drinking and driving, so we made a pact that if we did drink, we would travel by mass transit, or if we did need to drive, then the driver could not drink. We’d comp his food and sodas instead.

We all were together at Rich’s house. Silvio had given me this bottle of sherry which came in a small sack, thus the name, Dry Sack, on my 18th birthday.

We each took about a shot glass full. I sipped mine.

My grandma used to drink sherry to warm her up. I didn’t much care for the taste.

Silvio thought that each year we could all get together and have a glass and toast the new year and my birthday.

It sounded reasonable as I thought that we’d always be near each other to do that.

The following year at Silvio’s parents’ house, he asked about the bottle. I told him that I safely tucked the bottle away in my parents’ liquor cabinet.

I didn’t think my parents had any and it seemed the safest place to store it.

So it pretty much sat there through the years, forming a ring through the sack.

Each year on my birthday weekend, I’d pour a little and toast my absent friends and wish them well. Warm thoughts would wash over me as I recalled the days of our youth.

About 10 years later, as most of us had gone our separate ways, I again recalled the fun we had.

One year my mom was feeling a chill and asked for a bit of it. I told her the story of how it came to be while remembering my grandma having her late-afternoon sherry.

A few months later, I lost my dad in the same month that the bottle had finally emptied. I kept the bottle in its sack for a few years afterward as a keepsake.


Liquor is Quicker…At Making You Sicker

I am sure you’ve heard the saying “Beer then liquor, never been sicker. Liquor then beer, have no fear.” But have you ever put that slogan to the test?

I did one night in my youth, not realizing the consequences of my actions but I did come away with some lifelong lessons.

It was a typical Saturday night in the city, hanging out with my friends in the Village and planning to go to one of our favorite clubs, The Peppermint Lounge.

John, Pedro and I met some other people who brought a bottle of blackberry brandy. I don’t think I ever had tried it before, but after a couple of sips, I was hooked.

This kept us warm and primed us for the evening at the club. I had more than I should have but what the hell — I was feeling good.

“The Pep” was a multi-floored club with dancing to DJ beats on the ground level, live bands upstairs and then a “video lounge” tier where you could sit around tables and socialize.

The night was just starting, so we went straight up to the lounge and grabbed some beers and smokes.

Mind you, I was the one person at the time that didn’t smoke but drinking and smoking go all too well together, so I indulged.

That nice cold fizzy beer hit my blackberry brandy-laden stomach along with the smoke and nicotine that I was not used to and you can only guess what the result was.

I tried to hold it back, but oh!

All this purple barf came up and I grabbed for cups and glasses on the table and filled them up, but it just kept coming.

The table cleared out as I spewed that blackberry brandy on the table.

Pedro wanted no part of this so John got me up and moving and tried to get me to the bathroom, which of course, was down a flight of stairs.

As he was leading me, a couple of attractive girls were coming up and of course we tried to make ourselves appealing to them but all I could do was york some more purple chum at their feet.

So much for first impressions.

John finally got me to the bathroom but by then I was done. I had nothing left in me.

I was surprised at this point the management didn’t toss me out on the street for wrecking the place, but when we got back upstairs, the table was cleaned off and another group of people was sitting there like nothing had happened.

I vaguely remember the rest of the night.

I think I napped under a pinball machine at some point and the sun was coming up when I finally arrived back home.

I got a little sleep before my family woke me up, and wouldn’t you know it, I had a party to go to that day that I smartly resigned from partaking in any drinking.

Guess that was a good thing.

Photo: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / iqoncept

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