My eldest brother and sister (#1 & 2), have lent some additional information to this discussion. (This “eldest” shit comes from my mother and father. I’m not and have never been permitted to call my brother Sam my “elder” brother because, according to my mother and father, he’s not my “elder” brother, he’s my “eldest” brother. I’m serious. You don’t want to read a book they have read first. Every grammar/spelling mistake has been corrected. Laugh if you want, it’s true.)
My brother and sister remember a party when I was maybe 4. My father had sourced a barrel of crabs (a barrel is 3.28 bushels – this was a BUNCH of crabs) from family sources on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My mother grew up on Hooper’s Island, and her father owned a crab factory until it was washed out by a hurricane. She and her mother both dated Phillips men, of Phillip’s Seafood fame.
Anyway, he’d gotten a deal on crabs for a company party. And he’d, of course, gotten a deal on some cheap beer. During the party, my eldest brother Sam was in charge of replenishing the beer, bringing up luke-cold beer from the basement. My elder brother, John, who was maybe 10 or 11 at the time, was in charge of disposing of the beer that was not fully consumed. Since it was shitty beer, there was a bunch of that. People thought it was the crabs that gave the beer that taste. And of course, later John was as sick as a dog.
I’d noted before that I grew up in a sailing family, on the Jersey Shore. When I was a freshman in college, my father bought a well used Block Island 40 sailboat. It was kind of a piece of crap, the engine rarely worked when you wanted it to, but it was a rocket ship. It was fast, and fun to sail.
An impromptu family reunion had been thrown together one summer weekend, and the “boys” all decided to go sailing. 4 brothers and my father, plus my wife Jan. My Dad graciously offered to supply the beer. He pulled 2 cases of warm crappy beer out of the garage, and tied 2 frozen milk jugs together and put them over his shoulder. Those made their way down to the boat, and into the icebox (not fridge, not freezer – ice box). After a couple of hours, it would get down to about 65 degrees….
Obviously without my father’s permission, but at the encouragement of all of the rest of us, Sam had secretly bought 2 cases of COLD Miller High Life beer and 20 pounds of shaved ice. We found a beat up cooler in the garage. Those all made it into the boat.
About 20 minutes into our 1/2 day sail, Sam went below, and hit the cooler. He asked all of us in a loud voice if we wanted a beer. We all responded in the affirmative. Shit, we said “YES!” He then asked each of us: “Do you want one of Dad’s beers, or a good beer?” We all responded “A good beer”. Except Dad. “I’ll have one of my beers”. The “good” beers all came topside looking like a commercial. The ice just slid perfectly off of each one, a remnant left to glaze the bottle. And Dad had his nasty-ass canned, lukewarm beer, looking very left out.
Some time later, Sam again ventured below. “Anyone want another beer?” “Sure!” we all responded. “You want a good beer, or do you want one of Dad’s beers?” All responded “Good beers!” As Sam handed out beers he said to Dad “You want one of your beers, or a good beer?” “I believe this time I’ll have a good beer…” Sam = winner!
A few years ago, Mom and Dad came to visit us in San Antonio. Dad always bitches about our beer choices. This time, we’d had a Super Bowl party a few weeks earlier, and had about 8 different kinds of beer in the fridge. He still bitched. Complained about “Light beer – it has no alcohol in it! You buy beer for the alcohol, right? So, I don’t buy light beer!” Crap I’d heard it 100 times.
We went to dinner to a Mexican restaurant. About 30 minutes after one of his light beer rants. When the waiter asked him what he wanted – out of a choice of maybe 15 beers, he chose… “Coors Light, please” Really? When they left, we found that they had bought us some beer to replace what they drank. 2 cases of quite probably the worst tasting beer in the US: Schlitz. It was on sale!