I can do some basic carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, masonry, and assorted other manly things that my Dad either taught me outright or demonstrated often enough for me to have picked up on simply by watching him in action. There are some areas, though, where I consider myself lacking because Dad had no interest or didn't have sufficient knowledge to pass on to me. Though I'm now a hockey fan, it has nothing to do with Dad who didn't watch nor care much about sports. That also accounts for my being athletically declined rather than inclined. When other kids were out shooting baskets with their fathers I was down by my Dad's workbench tinkering alongside him. And you'll notice the absence in my little list of things I do at the top of this paragraph of anything pertaining to the operations of the internal combustion engine which is why I'm always overtly envious of the many guys who can maintain and modify their own scooters. All Dad knew about motor vehicles was to turn them over to our trusted mechanic when they needed anything done, and I follow firmly in his footsteps there.
The entire while I was growing up and living at home, my Dad never drank beer. Now and then at a wedding, or at home, he'd have a highball, and every year at the annual Father and Son Holy Name Society breakfast at the church I'd see him down a shot of whiskey after the 7:30 Mass along with all the other dads. When I started playing in a polka band in the late seventies with many of our gigs being in bars, I don't remember how, but I developed a taste for Scotch and water - at least at the places where free drinks were a perk of being in the band. It might have been when I was in college, or a little beyond, that Dad started buying beer and having one or two in the course of an evening, but it wasn't till much later for me, maybe only ten years ago or so, when I finally discovered that my taste changed in the direction of liking the stuff whereas I hadn't in the past.
Well, I've been making up for lost time. I won't say that I drink too many beers because I don't, but rarely does a day go by when I don't have at least one, often with supper. I enjoy sampling different kinds of brews, though I'm not one of those guys who goes to the local mega-bar that serves 100 different beers to try and who vows to have at least one of each before the Grim Reaper comes knocking. I discovered that I favor the lagers that are bitter and dark, and if they're a little chewy or even at room temperature they're just as enjoyable.
One of my favorites I discovered at a hockey game when I was sampling some offerings from a local micro brewery - Susquehanna Brewing Company's Pils Noir. The brewery is along one of my major scootering routes so it's often that I find myself rolling past it in my travels. They've recently acquired a few more brewing tanks which are currently in their parking lot. I thought the scooter would look cool parked beside them and I was right. They look like rocket ships, but they're much more awe inspiring! I stopped by the SBC office to learn that they give free tours and I'm sure I'll be taking one soon.
And, like every Seinfeld episode tied together a few different sub-plots in the final few minutes of the show, my mental meanderings here often find me doing the same. When my daughter was home around Christmas time we decided to visit the cemetery, and to have a beer with Dad. She, her boyfriend, and I each downed a few swigs, and then we toasted Dad with the sip that was left and poured it over his grave. I'm sure he was grinning right along with us.
Here's to having a cold one! Perhaps Norman Rockwell didn't whip up a cozy scene with pals gathered around a keg on a cold winter's evening, but beer is one of the ties that binds friends and families in some of their best times together and it's as deserving of a blog post as anything else that smacks me upside the head. Na zdrowie!