I’m getting right into the Meetup.com business. It’s great! So easy to meet new people that share similar interests… Last night I went to the Duke of York to meet up with some people from the T-DOT Writer’s Meetup Group. There were 11 of us, and we all read out our assignment that was given to us by the groups organizer. It was great to be able to share something that I’d written, and hear other people’s take on the same topic. The assignment was…
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DRINK TOO MUCH GREEN BEER
(in honour of St. Pat’s Day).
Here’s my entry!
Pickled Green. A true story.
I used to live in a ranch style house with my parents in the hamlet of Maidstone, about 20 minutes southeast of Windsor (also known as the armpit of Ontario). Maidstone doesn’t offer too much in the way of excitement throughout the year, until of course, it comes to St. Patrick’s Day.
On County Line 98, up the ways a bit from my house, was the only commercially zoned lot in Maidstone, home of Cozy Corners. Every inhabitant of Maidstone spends at least one summer working at this pub, scrubbing potatoes or waiting tables. It’s the right of passage that usually lets you know; Maidstone is not a place for staying. Like the town, Cozy Corners was old and tired, with dusty shamrocks and leprechauns in every nook, wood paneling covering the walls, cigarette-stains on the ceiling, and bar stools with ripped vinyl, stuffing spewing out like you know you will be after spending a few bucks at the bar.
In March of 1997, I was 19. My good fried Sheila was only 17, but the proprietor of Cozy Corners was not worried about trivial things like that. We decided to walk to Cozy’s, and when we arrived we were greeted by every townie with even the smallest fraction of Irish in them. The place was packed to the brim of its Fighting Irish cheese-grater ballcap.
We were welcomed with a cheer at the bar, but when I asked for a pint of their greenest ale, they told me they’d run out.
“Run out! It’s not even 8 o’clock yet!” A scan of the room revealed a sea of unwieldy patrons, proving the bartender’s claim to be true. Alas, I asked for a pitcher of Canadian.
“If you can wrangle up an empty pitcher for me to put your beer in, I’d be happy to pour it for ya,” the bartender replied. I quickly toured the room, and grabbed all the empty pitchers and glasses I could find. After all, I’d worked at this place; I knew the extra help would be appreciated.
I took my full pitcher back to a table, where 40 of my closest neighbours were huddled.
“Where have you been?!?” Sheila looked annoyed, but smiled brightly when I showed her the beer. “It’s not green!”
“They ran out.”
“They ran out?!?” Sheila pouted briefly, and then suddenly grabbed my shoulder. “Oh my god, you’ll never guess you just tried to pick me up! Mr. Garrett, the old janitor at St. Mary’s School! It was horrible.”
“Really? I though Mr. Garrett was dead?”
“I thought so too. I had to crawl under the table to get away from him.” Sheila slugged back some beer like Norm Peterson on holiday.
After a couple hours of drinking beer, inhaling beer on people’s breaths, soaking in beer through the skin of our elbows resting on the table, and not voiding our bladders of the beer (it’s advised to not visit the women’s restroom at Cozy’s, especially when your own is just down the road), we were properly pickled. Pickled Green, you might even say.
The walk home was interesting. The roughness of the gravel under my knees as I crawled along my “safe route” on the shoulder of the road didn’t bother me any. It was either that, or risk being hit by car on the road to my right or drowned in the deep ditch to my left. The actual distance between my house and Cozy’s is less than 500m, but for some reason, the walk home that night seemed to take forever.
Once on my bedroom floor, the spins took over. I closed my eyes, only to see shamrocks and leprechauns dancing inside my eyelids. My next view was of the inside of the toilet.
I woke up the next morning, stiff from my chilly sleep on the bathroom floor. My stomach churned, and my head felt like a week-old haggis. Another successful St. Patrick’s Day!