December 17, 2021
Reflections, Day 67—Beer, part four.
“I carry my thoughts about with me for a long time, often for a very long time, before I write them down—Ludwig van Beethoven (thanks, Tom)
“Well,” Ronnie continued, “Durwin was a dry county back then and those dormitory boys at Durwin Academy really wanted some beer. They all had so much money that it didn’t matter to them that Durwin was dry.
“That night, when I made my rounds for “All-In,” I knocked on each door and asked, ‘all in?’ I would get two voices saying, ‘all in,’ and then I asked, ‘Y’all want some beers?’ and I couldn’t believe how excited they got.
‘How much?’ they asked.
And I replied just as Uncle Mitch had said, ‘one for two dollars, two for three.’
And, man, them dollars flew out the doors and I passed in the cans. I sold out that night. Not bad when I paid Uncle Mitch two dollars a six-pack. So, I got my uncle to put two suitcases in the station wagon twice a week. I was sho’nuff making some money but a problem arose.
“The guys complained about the beer being warm. That was easy to fix. When I filled the coke machine the next night, I put four beers in the top of each channel. That way, the machine held 24 cans and since they were on the top and I kept rotating them, if you put your six cents in the machine you got a coke. At beer time I would open the machine and take out cold beers. Everybody was happy.
This went on until about the first of March of my senior year. I had made me a bunch of money by then and I had a good stash saved up for after I graduated. I was being smart and working hard. The money was rolling in.
There was a gym next to the dormitory. It was a nice one with a large basketball court and lots of bleachers. That March, we had a good team at Durwin Academy and the state tournament was held in the gym.
One night, it was unseasonably warm and it was really hot in the gym. At the end of the game, everyone lined up at the coke machine.
Now, this was not my coke machine, so I wasn’t worried but when the machine ran out, there was still a line. I heard someone say, ‘There’s another coke machine next door.’
I almost had a panic attack.
After all the kids had gotten their cokes, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the teachers began to buy Cokes.
The president of the academy was the last one in line. I crossed my fingers.
He stepped up to the machine, put in his six cents, pushed the button,
And then he reached into the chute and grabbed a…
A cold Pabst Blue Ribbon.
He looked at the beer can.
He looked at the other teachers,
And all of the teachers turned and looked at me.
What could I do?”
Tomorrow, the epilogue
Photo by Bill Cox.