Posted tagged ‘Kentucky bourbon’

A 6, Followed By A 4!

May 6, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    May 6, 2018

                                

I’ve usually associated the  number “64” with the interstate between Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia, a road that often has the feel of the Monaco Grand Prix, populated by tensed-up drivers and speeding coal trucks.

Yesterday, however, I hit 64 in birth years. My former high school classmate, Tanya Citti, hit it a day earlier. I should have called her up to get a scouting report on its impact.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever had as a wild a birthday as number 64! I’d better clarify what “wild” means in case anyone thinks I took a roll of quarters to a casino slot machine, or went to a local bar and downed a series of Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon shots.

“Wild” began with about eighty middle school track team members meeting to travel to the league meet at 7:30 in the morning, our final meet of the year. Being the 7th Grade Girls coach I was responsible for about twenty-five of those students, all giddy and giggly for the day ahead. I layered on the sun block because it was…wait for it!…hot! Snow had canceled our last home meet two days before!

At noon the first hint of weird and wild appeared on my cell phone screen. It was a text from my youngest daughter, Lizi. The text said, “Not a good day over here! What time are you done with the meet?”

“Huh?”

I called. “What’s up?”

“Well, Mom fell in the front yard at Kecia’s house (our oldest daughter), hurt her shoulder, and is at the doctor.”

“Ohh, how did she do that?”

“She stepped in a divot or something…and then-“

“And then?”

“Yes, and then while she was there Reagan (our seven year old granddaughter) fell off the monkey bars at the park a couple blocks away from the doctor’s office and got a gash beside her eye so I had to take her to the Emergency Room at Penrose-St. Francis Hospital.”

“What!!??”

“So she’s probably going to get some stitches and then Mom’s doctor is sending her here to have her shoulder x-rayed.”

“Her doctor is sending her to the same ER as Reagan?”
“Yes! Oh, and happy birthday, Dad!”

Middle school track meets can sometimes seem like they go on forever. Saturday’s seemed to go on forever…and ever…and ever, as the three ladies close and dear to my heart spent their afternoons populating the emergency room! Lizi and Reagan were able to leave about 3:00, but Carol was still there…waiting! When I got home at 4:30 I dropped my stuff, changed clothes, and headed to Penrose to be with her. A new Time magazine came in the mail so I threw it in the car. Murphy’s law says that if you take nothing to read with you you’ll end up being there forever, but if you take a book, the newspaper, or a magazine you’ll never get a chance to open it. Sure enough, when I checked in at the ER Security desk Carol texted me, “Ready to leave!”

The security person took me back to Room 8 and there was my wounded warrior, struggling to get her pants on. I helped her get her right foot through the correct hole, the foot that she informed me had also been sprained in her fall that morning.

A few minutes later, with a boot on her foot, I helped her hobble out to the car, got her buckled in, and headed home.

Lizi and Kecia arrived a little while later, Kecia driving Carol’s car that had still been parked at her house. She, and her husband, Kevin, had been at the Spartan Race that morning and afternoon, an eight mile run with a 100% possibility of getting muddy and dirty as the participants encountered various obstacles and challenges.

They all wished me a happy birthday, and then apologized.

“It’s all right! I’ll have another one next year!”

Next year…65! And my mind went to another highway, I-65, the interstate I traveled numerous times from Chicago to Indianapolis. A road that does not seem nearly as treacherous and intense as 64, and I thought to myself, hopefully number 65 will more resemble that road than the wild ride 64 was!

Mamaw’s Cough Remedy

November 20, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   November 20, 2016

                                    

The cashier put the bottle in a skinny brown bag that shouted “Booze!” I walked at a brisk pace out of the store like a CIA operative stealing a hard drive from a foreign power. I felt more guilt than a Baptist sitting in Starbucks on a Sunday morning!

The bag held a bottle of Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon. Somewhere in my memory this purchase destined me for the Lake of Fire. I had never…ever…ever bought a bottle of hard liquor before in my lifetime. Back in Ironton, Ohio, the state liquor store on Third Street was one place you didn’t get close to, lest you become tainted.

But the cough had lingered! My night time sleep was like a horizontal relay team passing the imaginary baton from one coughing episode to the next. And then my dad reminded me of Mamaw Helton’s cough remedy: One part honey and at least one part bourbon!

He told me of the time my Mama and Papaw Helton had come to visit them in Ironton from their farm in Oil Springs, Kentucky. My Papaw asked my dad to go to the liquor store and buy him a bottle of bourbon, to which my dad replied, “Dewey, why can’t you go and buy it?” Mamaw Helton piped in, “He can’t because of the church!” They were proud members of a United Baptist church, known for being a church of teetotalers and a few backwoods moonshiners.

My dad said, “Well, this is where I live and I’m a deacon in the church.” I asked him how the story played out and he told me he went and bought my Papaw Helton a bottle. Evidently my Papaw was okay with the drinking part, but committed to never entering the store that sold the drink.

So, as I coughed, like an old Chevy trying to start its engine, I went to the liquor store!

I had also rationalized that my brother, Charles Dewey, now works as a tour guide at the Woodford Reserve Distillery outside of Frankfort. If I bought a bottle, in some weird way, it would promote job security for him. When I looked at the price difference between his brand and the others I considered that he needed to be responsible for his own job security. But then I thought that perhaps…just perhaps…the price difference was because Woodford Reserve went down smoother and tasted as sweet as a piece of rock candy. If I bought that cheap Jim Beam it might be like drinking one of those generic cans of cola compared to drinking a Pepsi. It might completely distort my impression of what Kentucky bourbon tasted like.

So I bought it! At the counter I informed the lady that my brother was a tour guide at the distillery of my chosen bottle. She looked at me and with a face completely void of expression replied, “Ah-huh!” End of sales transaction!

That night I anxiously opened the bottle of the miracle potion. I was a bourbon virgin about to have my first sip experience. “Would it taste like Pepsi?” I asked myself, “Or more like Vernor’s?”

I poured about an ounce into a cup and mixed in the honey. This was the big moment…the moment of healing, the exorcism of my coughing demon! I tipped the cup up and took my first swig.

“Good Lord!” I stammered. My fear of being cast into the Lake of Fire was being preceded by a burning flow of lava down my throat. I could feel some of the hair on my chest shriveling up and falling off. Kentucky bourbon is the twin brother of castor oil!

“Lord, help me!” I stared at the other half of the dosage I still needed to force down. I pinched my nose and once again let the fire enter in. Then I stared at the bottle of bourbon that still contained about 97% of its contents.

“How do people drink this? Better yet, how did my Papaw Helton drink this?” I could feel the fire in my throat dripping down into my stomach.

That night, however, I slept soundly! Seven hours of sleep is worth one moment of torture!