Back when I was eighteen, I used to bum a menthol cigarette off Mike Cooper at break. It started when he teased me and offered me one, knowing I didn’t smoke. Not wanting to look like a sissy I smoked it.
This went on for ten days. I can still remember the day, I went from doing it to fit in, to actually thinking about it, and looking forward to having a smoke at break.
Right then I knew something had shifted in my mind….I was on the precipice of taking up smoking as a habit…did I really want to do that????
Naaa….better quit while I was ahead…sissy or not, in the eyes of my construction co-workers, I decided to back away from the ledge. No more cigarettes…that’s not to say, I didn’t try a few other things, but those are conversations for another day.
Pause- (I hope those of you that smoke don’t think I’m judgmental, because that is not where I am coming from.)
I’ve never regretted that decision to stop before I really got started…especially after watching my grandpa Conley, laying in a hospital bed, hooked up to oxygen struggling to breath. He whispered, it felt like someone had a pillow over his face….all because of a lifetime of smoking.
Anyway, a new interest, has gradually been creeping into my life the past few weeks. It started when I got a call for a gallon of freshly pressed apple cider. Merle, who is a foreman at a business I occasionally do carpentry work for, wanted to find some fresh apple cider for his wife. She was making “apple pie” for a labor day get together. Legally, I can’t sell fresh cider, but I can give it away..so I pressed a bushel of ginger-golds for Merle, and quipped, “I wanted a sample of this “apple pie” when it is ready.”
. The following Monday, Merle called and said, he wanted to return my plastic jug, and send home a quart of apple pie..
It was the sweetest, most tasty drink I have sipped on, since I don’t know when….
His wife also sent home the recipe. Fresh apple cider, cinnamon sticks, a little sugar…and…190 proof alcohol.
Moon shine…Ever clear…and one of the things about this concoction is you can not taste the alcohol.
I had one small glass of it, the night I brought it home ….
and been thinking about it ever since….
In my worldview, having an occasional drink of alcohol in and of itself is not wrong. The issues lie more in the areas of self control, moderation, financial, addiction, and the butt load of spin off issues that come with it. Alcoholism runs in both sides of my family, and my wife’s as well. I have experienced first hand (some of) the long term heartache that comes with alcoholic addictions.
Do I really want to go further down that road?
At some point, and I’m not sure where that point is, our physical body, and the alcohol start calling the shots, and and as a friend of mine who struggled with this addiction told me, “It’s like there is a monkey on your back, and when he pulls the chain, you feed him.”
So, right before logging on this morning , I dumped the rest of the apple pie down the sink.
Side note- I’ve written before about my grandpa sharing with me the family recipe for making moonshine. It is a piece of family history I found intriguing. There is a little part of me that feels some sort of connection with the past, (by entertaining the idea of cooking up a batch or two of my own apple pie)… but then I think, you know, that same grandpa that shared that recipe with me, also had his battles with the bottle…
and that is a part of my family history, I would just as soon not repeat….ever.