Yield: A bourbon ritual
March 2, 2018
This was a week of reader responses to past columns. One faithful reader, ol' Taka Sipp, wrote:
"Just finished reading your column about sampling your dad's hidden wine. That story reminded me of myself back in 1960 or 1961. My Dad did not partake too much in drinking either. But, before we left the farm in 1958, he had helped our neighbor with his cattle. As a repayment, the neighbor bought Dad a fifth of bourbon.
"Dad used it for colds. He would take honey and bourbon to sooth the symptoms. I think he had nipped that bottle one time when I found his stash. So, as a natural teenager would do, I decided that on occasion when I came home from school, I would take a nip from Dad's whiskey. Well, with me imbibing on occasion, eventually the bottle was empty.
"Then, one winter Dad had a bad cold and went to get his bourbon 'medicine' bottle and found it empty. He looked at mother and said, 'Have you been drinking this.' She assured him 'No! I haven't touched it.'"
That's when he just looked at me for what seemed like the longest time and never said a word. I know he knew before he even asked my mother.
"Nothing more was said until about three years later. That's when Dad broke out a pint of bourbon at Christmas time and asked me if I wanted some Christmas cheer. For the next 20 years that was our ritual. I always brought the bourbon and a bottle of Mogen David wine for my mother and we shared our Christmas cheer."
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Then a faithful reader from Maine, who used to live in southeast Kansas, ol' Duncan Lyne, read about my wistful thinking about spring fishing and replied:
"Back when I was a kid, I started out thinking I would like fishing. One day, when I was still attending the one-room country school, I went fishing and caught about a 3-pound catfish and a large-mouth bass about the same weight out of our pond.
"I didn't know we had fish that large in our pond, so was excited and wanted Dad to see my catch. So, I put them on a stringer and hung them down in a bucket of water at our well to keep until Dad got home from work.
"When he arrived, I hurried him down to the well to see my prizes. Surprise. Our barn cats had somehow managed to climb down into the open-topped well and eat the top halves off both of my fish, leaving only bloody, bony carcasses to show Dad.
"I was profoundly disgusted, and don't believe I've ever put a line in the water again, except perhaps to seem sociable to my new dad-in-law. I took up a love of airplanes and flying instead of falling in love with fishing."
And, from a reader's e-mail came this moralistic story:
A rural, small-county-seat lawyer, who had a wife and 12 children, needed to move because his rental agreement was terminated by the owner who wanted to reoccupy the home.
But the rustic barrister was having a lot of difficulty finding a new homeowner who would rent to a family with a dozen kids. Every time he inspected a potential new home, when he said he had 12 children, the homeowners wouldn't rent to him because they felt the children would destroy the place.
That put the lawyer in a dilemma. As an honest man, he couldn't say he had no children, because he couldn't lie. And, we all know lawyers cannot and do not lie.
So, before he met the next homeowner about renting the perfect home for his family — a nice, old square two-story house on a quiet acreage on the outskirts of town — the barrister sent his wife for a walk to the cemetery with 11 of their kids. He took one with him to see the owner of the possible new rental home.
He loved the home and the price was right. That's when the homeowner asked: "How many children do you have?"
The lawyer truthfully answered: "12."
The homeowner frowned and asked, "Well, where are the others?"
The lawyer, in his best courtroom sad look, honestly answered, "They're in the cemetery with their mother."
There's this moral to this story: It's not necessary to lie. One only has to choose the right words in the right context. And, I'll add: Remember, most politicians are lawyers.
And, from a Wichita friend comes this story:
A farmer was sitting around all alone on a dreary winter day wishing he had someone to talk to, when suddenly there was a knock on the door.
He opened it to find a young, well-dressed man standing there who said, "Hello, sir, I'm a missionary. I'd like to bother you for a few moments of your time."
So the lonely farmer said, "Why, sure, son, come in and sit down and we'll share a fresh cup of coffee." After the coffee was poured, the farmer smiled and said, "What do you want to talk about?"
The nice young man replied, "Beats the heck out of me. Nobody's ever let me in before."
Okay, I'll close with these words of wisdom: "The Constitution doesn't need to be re-written. It needs to be re-read." Have a good 'un. ❖