Ode to a summer Stella

It’s kind of summer here.  Meaning that I can hear lawnmowers and people and wind chimes and kids playing and somewhere someone is burning some really stinky anti-mosquito stuff.  There was sunshine a moment ago, when Chutney and I stepped out onto the balcony, me sweaty after a jog with him around the very steep block, he panting and looking for a lap to warm up. In my hand was a perfectly chilled Stella Artois.

What IS it about beer and summer? I’m a big lager fan when the sun comes out (even for a moment or two) and the air is warm. Cold white wine, while lovely, just doesn’t quite do it. I blame my dad, who in summer months would parade such lovely beers as St. Pauli Girl, Grolsch, Lowenbrau, Stella, Dab, and his own home made concoctions that we would live with for some time before being allowed to taste them – always delicious, more consistent than his wine.

When we got old enough, he’d share them with us – always the boys first, because I think he felt that ladies didn’t drink beer (certainly not from the bottle!) and was quite appalled that the only skill I seemed to learn in my first couple of years at Queen’s University was how to hold my liquor. But eventually he caved and he and I would sip beer together, enjoying the salty taste of it on a sweaty day, pulling back on that cool refreshment that would make us ever so slightly sozzled and funny. Or so we thought. And since my mum would  be somewhere else, doing whatever she did (cooking, cleaning, running the house, reading mystery stories, secretly smoking), it didn’t matter if only we thought we were funny.

I love beer. But then, I love wine, too.  And there really isn’t a rusty nail around that I can’t stand – oh, and don’t get me started on single malt scotch!

You know, when I got felled by MS, I said to myself, “hey, DA!  This is a blessing! You’ve always wanted to write, and now you have the golden ticket!” And that was 2 years ago. I’ve written a bit, yes, but goshens, Auntie Em, I need to get focused before more time is gone. I’m feeling a bit frustrated, though.  You see, I am sorely lacking in writerly background.

My growing up in Winchester, MA, was filled with the usual teenage sturm and drang, but I wasn’t beaten, was only sexually molested once or twice, my parents gave me a lovely childhood filled with fun and travel and things like pottery and photography, my first boyfriend was kind, and when we moved to Seattle in my senior year, the band went to Copenhagen, for gosh’s sake. I had FUN.  Like anyone’s life, sorrows have come through it, many of my own choosing, but I’m white, middle class, lapsed Catholic, regained Anglican, chocolate loving and generally happy. You see my problem?

What’s a goil to write about?

So I thought, maybe I’d take on alcoholism. I didn’t have much else to do, my brain was already shortcircuiting without my help, and it seemed like a good way to get a buzz on that would help me overcome my internal editor. And every ex-alchoholic I know is funny as heck and has great stories.

Only problem is, I have no tolerance anymore. Add a drink to MS and the walk to the fridge is impossible. Vertigo rules. And, truth be told, I’ve always hated being dependent on anything (except chocolate and I am beginning to get fussed about that) or anyone, so why take up such a thing now?

So I have one drink. Or sometimes two.  And it’s lovely. Like a cold Stella on a summer’s day.

Funny thing is, though, it isn’t helping me write, unless it’s vaguely sozzled emails. I just fall asleep.

Speaking of which, it must be naptime, surely?

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