This is the story of my very first beer. If what I am about to tell you were to happen today there might have been outrage, outcry, and maybe even litigation. However…because of the time and the place and to a certain extent the people involved you should just take it for what it’s worth…and amusing and perhaps even delightful anecdote.
The year was 1976, America’s Bicentennial year. It was June and we were in Texas so…it was HOT. I was playing on a neighborhood soccer team in the NDCCSA soccer league in North Dallas. Our team was called the Bears. This may have not been the most skilled team I ever played on but it was definitely the most fun team I ever played on. Most of my teammates were also my classmates from St. Monica Elementary School. It was a Saturday and while I don’t remember the exact date or the opponent that day I do remember that the team we played that day was wearing red uniforms. We were wearing our regular uni’s that day that consisted of a blue jersey, white shorts, and blue socks with white trim on top.
I even remember the place…DeGolyer Elementary School…also known as Webb Chapel Park field. One of the defining features of this park at the time was that while the field was totally exposed to the elements at the West end of the field was a patch of trees, perhaps around half a dozen of them, that were quite tall and dense. They were spread out almost evenly in a small circle so as to make a natural gazebo. THIS was the area where most of the fathers would sit and watch the game from. It’s also where they would sit and drink…AND watch the game. And this is what my father did this day as I played my game in what I remember to be a hot but not unusually so June Texas day.
I don’t remember the outcome of the game…I think we were still too young to be concerned with such things…and parents had yet to become so concerned or vicarious about their children’s futures being dependent on these outcomes either. I just remember finishing the game and sweating profusely and not having any more water left to drink…and being REALLY thirsty.
And so after shaking our opponents hands and getting our customary soda after the game, which I proceeded to down in one gulp, I walked over to where my father was. I was still sweating and still extremely thirsty…and I told my father so. “Where’s your water?” he asked. “All gone” I replied. His response was that I’d have to wait until we got home. “But I’m REALLY thirsty!” I exclaimed.
Looking back on it I think what my father did next wasn’t as surprising as what I did in response. I’m sure he meant it as a joke but my father popped open a fresh cold Coors and held it out. I took it from him and placed it to my mouth. I’m pretty sure that he expected me to take the first sip and spit it out to which all the Dad’s would get a good laugh out of. But it was HOT…and I was THIRSTY. Really thirsty…
I imagine it was close to 100 degrees that day. I imagine the beer was about 45 degrees. I imagine after running around for the last hour in that heat I was ready for that beer that day. I remember that cold refreshing feeling when it hit my mouth. I can’t say I really remember the taste…but that frosty cold sensation just felt good and right…nothing like water could have felt even if were as cold. I’m sure no one witnessing expected it, but I chugged that beer down. I don’t think the word or activity “chugged” had been invented yet…but that’s what I did. No one, not the least of which my father, had time to react before I had imbibed almost the whole can of beer.
I don’t remember feeling tipsy or drunk afterwards. I just remember feeling satisfied and refreshed.
It would actually be quite a while before I would have another beer, but even to this day I don’t remember one ever tasting as good.
I sure do miss my Pop…and I sure do love him!