Hey, remember your first beer? I don’t.
It’s not because of binge drinking and black outs, it’s because before the age of two, my dad started letting me have the last sips of beer to “help him finish” the can. It’s my sharpest memory of us boding as a tyke.
This practice continued until around age five or six, and on the weekend visitations when Dad actually exercised his rights to joint custody, I remember vivid instances of me jumping up and down, begging for the pleasure of the last sip swirling at the bottom of the classic red-trimmed Budweiser cans.
I’ll be damned now if I can remember how the practice stopped. I’d hope that either my dad wised up or my mom’s conscience prompted an ultimatum. Perhaps I stopped liking beer because I realized that Dad was an alcoholic and needed to quit. I saw beer as the reason behind his regular, sometimes yearlong disappearances and a string of disconnected phone numbers. Not knowing when or if I’d ever see my dad again was common to my youth.
The longest disappearance came after I turned 13 and my dad moved to Arkansas. The next time I heard from him was as a senior in high school.
Dad died a couple years back at age 63. We maintained a steady phone relationship in the years since our reconnection. He never did quit drinking permanently, especially since beer seemed to alleviate some of the Parkinson’s symptoms he fought in his final years. Yet I am still proud of all the AA medals he’d ever shown me, especially the one he received for being one year sober.
I dearly love this picture just as I dearly love my dad.
Photo owned by me:
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