Whisky Wind-down, 1: Life’s a Beach

A pair of hands hold mini-bottles of Maker's Mark bourbon. In the background, rain begins to fall on a tropical beach.

Today’s dram: Maker’s Mark

Today’s tasting notes: This is an old favorite. A classic for a reason. Well made to the same standard for better than a century. Good, warm, just enough bite.

Bourbon is an American creation. Today, it’s a reminder to me. Of home, when I’m away from it. And of the good things there that make it worth going back to.

Mostly that’s people, of course. Family. Friends. Friends who are like family.

But also ideals. Liberty. Equality.

We may fail, often, and years like 2017 may make us question the strength of our society and its commitment to those ideals, but we endure.

Today’s thoughts: Privilege. I acknowledge it. From a beach in another country, together with like-minded friends, I prepare to watch a new year roll in, and I know, within a reasonable margin of error, I’ll be fine in the coming year.

I didn’t feel this way as this year began. I felt quite a lot of trepidation, in truth. And 2017 has not been a year to be proud of, as an American.

Or, bluntly, for me as a writer, as someone who feels compelled to speak up, speak out, but all too often fails, allowing inertia, apathy, and whisky to prevail in place of the long, difficult slog that is activism.

Will 2018 be better?

I don’t know.

But as I sit on a tropical beach, miles away from responsibility and stress, I still find my thoughts turning toward all the things I could have said and done better this year, and I’m not ready to leave off just yet.

Today’s observation on the weather: It rained pretty hard for a couple of hours today, eventually driving most everyone away from the beach, and throwing kinks into the evening plans of locals and tourists alike.

That happens, even in tropical paradise.

But now it’s clearing, and the sun’s gone down, and plans will be re-configured, or new ones made.

Time will roll on, weather and human perceptions of its passage notwithstanding.

Today’s toast: To tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

Whisky Wind-down, 15: Rhymes With Nothing

An opened 100-ml bottle of Glenmorangie Original (10YO) stands in front of a Glenmorangie tasting set gift box, the contents of which are obscured. Nearby, a Glencairn glass stands filled with whisky.

Today’s dram: Glenmorangie, The Original, 10-Year-Old

Today’s tasting notes:┬áThe aroma is floral, as a field of wildflowers on a breezy day, when their honeyed nectar was just disturbed by passing bees.

The whisky is smooth and soft on the palate, its flavors so subtle as to seem diluted. It reminds me of nothing so much as a liquified citrus sorbet.

This is the mildest Scotch whisky I can recall trying. It’s barely there.

Today’s thoughts: Speaking of “recall trying,” I’ve had this one before, several years ago, before I had really immersed myself into an appreciation of Scotch whisky.

A friend, made through our mutual interest in hitting one another with sticks, invited me to a Scotch whisky tasting party at his home. I don’t recall much of what was on offer that evening, but I do remember Glenmorangie was there. In fact, it is the only whisky I recall for certain; that’s the benefit of a distinctive name, I guess.

Today’s note on the future: This is one of four bottles I received in a Glenmorangie tasting gift set. What else is in there? I’ll tell you later. I’ll probably also explain that “hitting one another with sticks” reference. Probably.

Today’s toast: To the poets, who know rhyming is usually the least difficult part.

Delayed Reaction

“1 … 2 … 3 … reaction.”

Says my wife, whenever it takes me a moment to register something.

She says it a lot.

But even she would probably be surprised by this one: I just understood something I overheard in first grade. Or maybe second. Not important; either way, we’re talking a three-decade delay.

Remember recess? I loathed recess. I didn’t particularly care for the sweating or the outdoors or the sports or the sun … but mostly I didn’t care for the other children. At that age I was still years away from hearing about a guy named Sartre, but I daresay even then I would have nodded agreement at his line: “Hell is other people.”

During recess, several classes were on the field together. All of them would participate together in general exercises — jumping jacks, torso twists, chopping wood, etc. When that was over, all classes but one would run laps around the recess field. The lucky class would be released to the playground equipment early. Inevitably, some members of that class would climb to the top of the tallest piece of playground equipment and proceed to taunt the running kids.

I’m sure there were many, but the taunting chant that sticks in my memory is: “Run them meatballs!”

Run them meatballs.

For whatever reason — aside from the basic fact that I think entirely too much about entirely too many entirely inconsequential things — I recently remembered that line and realized I have probably been thinking about it the wrong way for 30+ years.

Run them meatballs.

An unspoken subject at the beginning: (You) run them meatballs!

Grammar translation: (You) run [those] meatballs!

Slang translation: (You) run [those] [laps]!

In other words, I always thought it was a chant aimed at the runners.

But, what if the meatballs weren’t the laps, but the kids? What if the chant were directed at the coaches?

Run them meatballs! = (You-coaches) run [those] [overweight kids]!

1 … 2 … 3 … reaction.