Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cheers - Part One

This is Part One of a short series on growing up around alcohol.

Alcohol was, and still is, part of the social fabric of the Virgin Islands. It's cheaper to buy a fifth of rum than a gallon of milk.

My parents kept alcohol in our home. My grandmother's guest house at Trunk Bay and later at Lillie Maho had fully stocked bars. When we were little my sister, Erva, and I were allowed to drink a liqueur glass of wine for special occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Sometimes if my parents were visiting friends in the evening and I got whiny Mom would slip me a small amount of beer so I'd go to sleep.

One time, when I was about six, we were at a party and I got a fish bone stuck in my throat. I grabbed my father's drink -- which I thought was water -- and chugged it down. It turned out to be rum on the rocks. I don't remember a thing after grabbing his drink. And, strange to say, since then  I've never been all that fond of rum. Though I do like a good pina colada every great once in a while.

When my father won the Fourth of July boat race in our speedy little boat the FDO (Father's Day Off) he got a case of Schaefer Beer. (See, even Lucille Ball advertised for Schaefer.) And speaking of the Fourth, at least once, those in charge of the fireworks got so drunk and excited that they shot them off on the 3rd. But this can be forgiven because the 3rd is Emancipation Day, the day the slaves won their freedom from Denmark.

For many, many years there was an elderly gentleman who, when he got to the right level of drunkenness, would put his bottle of beer on his head and dance, with or without music. I can't remember that bottle ever falling from his head.

The availability of alcohol in my life had it's good and bad sides.  The bad side is that with liquor being cheap, alcoholism is prevalent and I can spot an alcoholic with relative ease. The good side is, because I saw responsible drinking in our home and because we were allowed to drink small amounts, neither my sister or I ever had the need or desire to go out, drink and/or get drunk with our peers, something I saw happen on more than one occasion.

Did you grow up with alcohol in the home? Next Monday...Bars.


  1. Oh man, when I was a teenager, I was such a prude that I would not drink. I didn't mind that my friends did, and that made me a very popular person to take to parties since I could always drive away again.

  2. My parents drank a little wine or beer, but we were never allowed to have any. And neither me nor my siblings got crazy as teenagers. I guess we just weren't those type of kids! In fact I didn't have my first drink until the legal age of 21. It wasn't worth it to risk getting an underage in college and possibly ruin future opportunities. I know how to have fun without alcohol so it wasn't a big deal!

    That's amazing the bottle never fell off that guy's head! I've seen stuff like that before, people being so drunk and still being super steady. Some people are clumsy drunks and some people are steady drunks, I guess!

  3. My father was military so there was drinking in our house. But I never got into it and just have a drink once in a while.
    One really drunk birthday when I was younger cured me as well!

  4. I don't remember there being any alcohol in my foster parents house while I was growing up. In my teens and early twenties I drank way more than was good for me, but more to fit in than any other reason. I stopped when glasses became bottles. It tends to be just Christmas and birthdays now. My daughters have both tried sips of wine and declared they will never drink because it's gross. I'd like to think their opinion won't change :-)

    Sorry I haven't been around lately Bish, been a bit poorly. All better now though :-)

  5. I didn't grow up with alcohol and I rarely drink it as an adult. That always makes me the designated driver.

  6. This was interesting, as it's so different from my perspective which was no alcohol at all. I rebelled in high school and drank but by the time I got to college had already outgrown it.

  7. I want to meet the guy who can dance and balance a bottle on his head. That's talent. ;)

  8. Did I grow up with alcohol in the home?

    Yup. This is Wisconsin.

    'Nuff said.


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!