After last week’s column, an observant reader noted that I’d mentioned drinking Mexican beer, and two types of hard liquor as some of the pleasures I enjoy in my advancing age. He also asked me for my opinion about the vices and virtues of imbibing alcoholic beverages.
But, being the lazy soul that I am, I searched the internet for help. And I found help in a statement — attributed to one Armon M. Sweat, Jr., — about the vices and virtues of alcohol. Mr. Sweat, Jr., wuz a member of the Texas House of Representatives, when he wuz asked about his position on whiskey. This was his carefully crafted reply back in 1952 (from the Political Archives of Texas):
“If you mean whiskey, the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.
“However, if by whiskey you mean the lubricant of conversation, the philosophic juice, the elixir of life, the liquid that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.
“This is my position and, as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle.”
I love folks who have a way with words. I couldn’t have said it half as well, but I agree with Mr. Sweat, Jr.
The famous TV duo of western adventure, Lone Ranger and Tonto, went camping in the desert — seeking a little rest and relaxation after killing a few bad guys and saving a few fair maidens and stalwart western communities.
After they got their tent all set up, they ate a huge supper of venison and wild berries, then both men fell sound asleep.
Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, “Kemo Sabe, look up. What do you see?”
The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.”
“What does it all mean?” asks Tonto.
The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, “Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What’s it tell you, Tonto?”
“That you’re dumber than a politician, a bureaucrat or a California voter. It means somebody stole our tent.”
Heard a funny little true story last week that happened in a rural Chase County home occupied by a college co-ed.
At 2:30 a.m., after getting home from a Kansas City Chief’s game, the co-ed called her parents, who live 10 miles away, awakening them from deep sleep. She had alarm and urgency in her voice as she informed her parents that she had discovered a snake in her home and wanted some advice on what she should do.
The parents told her to trap the snake under a bucket and that her father would come see about the situation in the morning.
Well, the next morning dad and granddad go to their daughter/granddaughter’s home to handle the wild snake situation.
Here’s what they found. In the middle of a room they saw a laundry basket overturned in the floor with two heavy iron skillets or pots holding it down. But, when they lifted the laundry basket, they discovered a plastic bucket also upside down and taped tightly to the floor with sticky packing tape.
After spending a few minutes un-taping the bucket, they tipped it over and discovered a tiny garter snake about a foot long, tightly ensnarled in sticky tape.
The co-ed quickly dispelled any notion that she is an animal rights activist as the directed dad/granddad to “Don’t just take it outside and let it go. Kill it!”
My story teller, frankly, didn’t tell me the final outcome.
Since I mentioned both alcohol and snakes in this column, I’ll end it with some words of wisdom about both. Comedian W.C. Fields said, “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” And Texas politician Ross Perot said, “If you see a snake, just kill it. Don’t appoint a committee on snakes.” That’ll end it for the week. Have a good ’un. ❖