December 14, 2021
Reflections, Day 64—Beer, part one
“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”
― Oscar Wilde
“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”
― W.C. Fields
Note: This is a true story other than the parts that are not true—or else it’s a fictional story except for the parts that are true. Your choice. I may have to divide it into a couple of chapters, so don’t get angry if I don’t finish it all at once. It’s kind of like that pig with the peg leg.
Have you ever visited the city of Durwin? It’s a very nice and prosperous town about seventy miles east of here in Durwin County. As you drive into Durwin on the main road, you will see, on your right, a giant store with a full parking lot. The name of the store in big block letters on the false front is “Bottle Barn,” and it’s about the biggest liquor store I have ever seen. It is owned by my friend, “Ronnie.”
On down the road from the Bottle Barn, on the left, is a private high school, Durwin Academy. It is an exclusive school and the campus is large, with lots of green space. The buildings on the campus are large, columned, brick edifices that project wealth. Durwin Academy is exclusive and expensive.
One day, at Ronnie’s house, we were sitting around the pool drinking us some beers when I asked Ronnie if he knew anything about Durwin Academy. He had drank a few beers that day and he smiled and said, “I went to school there for four years almost.”
I asked, “What was it like?” A place like that was out of my realm of experience.
He applied a church key to another can in an expert manner. “Well,” he said, “It’s quite a story. My dad sent me there in the ninth grade to straighten me out. I was a boarding student, and Daddy had to fork over a bunch of money for my expenses, so he didn’t have much money left to give me for spending money.
“I hit that campus trying to figure out how I was going to make my spending money. You see, all those other boys in the dorm came from wealthy families and they had plenty of money. I couldn’t keep up with them money-wise, so I asked the teacher in charge of the dorm if there was any work I could do. He talked with some administrative people and they told me that I could keep the common rooms clean, dusted, and swept, and they would pay me $5.00 per week. That was a
bunch of money back then. I was always smiling.
“Those rich boys gave me a hard time to start with but I just smiled, nodded, and kept right on pushing that broom. Pretty soon they backed off from making fun of me. I made it through my freshman year with pretty good grades and the guys accepted me and left me alone. I worked on my Paw-Paw’s farm that summer and then, in my sophomore year, I got a promotion.”
He paused to light a Marlboro and said, “Why don’t you fetch us another beer…”
End of Part One. Tune in tomorrow.