Every year as the first twinge of Autumn slides in off the back of summer, that cool brisk air brings about a buzz of memories. Actually, now that I think about, it’s the buzz that I remember most from those early Fall evenings of my youth. And yes…I am talking about the buzz that beer lovers know all too well. It’s the state of mind that country music legend Tom T. Hall sang about that made him a “jolly good fellow.”
The buzz, however, was just a result, a result of something other than pouring cheap beer down my throat. This buzz was one of friendships, laughter, and fun. Aaaaah I can still smell the smoke from the fire and see the sparks fly up in the night sky almost dancing to the rhythm of the Scorpions, Loverboy and Sammy Hagar playing on a car stereo from somewhere out in the darkness. Occasionally, as though we were being watched by the big DJ in the sky, the smooth voice of that radio jockey would metaphorically salute us with AC/DC’s tune, Have a Drink on Me. In unison, every beer filled hand would reach toward the stars with toasts of cheers echoing in the air.
Now I am not suggesting that young adults or anyone for that matter go out and get blitzed out of their minds as that would be irresponsible. So, simmer down my teetotaler friends. Beer is a matter of history though. Many of the Founding Fathers were beer drinkers. In fact, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both dabbled in brewing as well. The Father of the Constitution, James Madison even briefly entertained the idea of a federal brewery. History suggests that the average colonist guzzled about seven gallons of alcohol per year. Today, Americans have turned the taps down to just over two gallons each year. In fact, the colonists considered alcohol to be much more than just a recreational part of daily life. It was a cure-all for the sick and downtrodden and an important ingredient in the communal glue that held colonial society together.
So, what’s the point of this rambling? I guess it’s partly the memories of a young man who connected with other like-minded individuals over a few beers and laughs as those brews made us jolly good fellows in the autumn evenings of our youth. Maybe it’s also about a group of idealists who formed common goals and bonds over a few gallons of a very old drink to form a very new concept of freedom. Or maybe it’s just about the buzz and a good tune on the airwaves that bring a few people together over good conversation and a taste of tradition. Whatever the point, here’s to you! Drink up!