A new year requires a new slate; therefore, I've decided to come out of the closet. This will, no doubt, shock my friends and family.
It's time to confess that I have finally joined the ranks of my alcohol-consuming friends. I can't actually remember when I made the decision not to drink or serve alcohol in my home, but my faith does call for me to maintain my body as a clean vessel, worthy of the Holy Spirit's abode. Not that I've always been consistent on that point: I smoked three packs of cigarettes daily before kicking the habit some 40 years ago. At least smoking didn't affect my decision-making abilities, unless you count the nights I slipped out of bed for a run to the 7-Eleven for "just one more pack." I maintained that I smoked only to curb my appetite, but we can always justify, can't we?
Beyond that, I never really saw any reason to imbibe. In fact, it wasn't discussed by any of my close girlfriends at Manchester High School or by the young men I dated, even though the vast majority of them were college students. I spent many nights dancing at the University of Richmond's Lambda Chi House drinking only Cokes. Thinking back, though, the fact that I was underage and that my brother, Harless, was a member may have set some controls on his frat brothers through osmosis.
In total, before my recent fall off the wagon, I may have ingested 10 or so mixed drinks in my life, and only after I was married. My late husband used to tease me about being a cheap date. Truth be told, I've never been very tempted, since I don't need exterior influence to have a good time. Also, being a fairly uninhibited person, I never wanted to wake up the morning after a party and wonder if I danced on a table sans clothing the night before.
My reputation as a teetotaler, like my inability to navigate geographically, goes back decades. I was at the University of Oklahoma in 1990 taking advantage of a scholarship when a group of students decided to cross the border for a taste of that famous Texas barbecue. Eventually, I was the only one sober enough — the only one sober, really — to navigate. En route, a boisterous discussion arose about the correct exit. I made a command decision and miraculously got us back to campus safely. I was so thrilled that I woke my husband at midnight to tell him. His only question: "What were you drinking?"
I wouldn't actually classify what I'm doing now as drinking; it's more like I'm sipping for health reasons. I've recently started a new regimen I heard would help my arthritis: nine golden raisins soaked in gin each morning and night. Thinking this change would delight my friends George and Frances Crutchfield, who have tried unsuccessfully many times to introduce me to the pleasures of wine, I shared the information. Frances' advice? "Throw the raisins away, and drink the gin."
Just thinking of purchasing gin in Richmond made me break out in a guilty sweat, but I discovered an ABC store near Amelia in a shopping center. I ratcheted up my nerve and furtively whispered my need for the cheapest gin in the store to a guy who looked about 12. He obliged and, at the age of 64, I became a brown bagger. I was quaking as I looked over my shoulder and put the bottle into my car trunk.
Thus far, I've ingested one 15-ounce box of raisins, soaking them in close to a pint of gin, but I haven't seen a big difference in my knee pain. The gin has more kick than my coffee, so my big decision each morning is which comes first, the coffee or the raisins. I ran out of raisins recently and inadvertently poured out the excess gin before realizing I'd have to make another run to the ABC store for provisions.
Oh, what the heck, anything for scientific research, right?
©Nancy Wright Beasley. All rights reserved 2010.