Before you navigate to a previous post or a different blog because you think this is going to be a lecture on temperance, read on. In 1971 when I was ten years old, Dad and I drove from our home in Tucson, Arizona, to Sheridan, Wyoming, to visit Grandma. The decision to take the trip was made on the spur of the moment while we were sitting at the dinner table with my mother and younger brother who was only three at the time. Grandpa Johnson had recently passed away, and Grandma was struggling with the family business and wanted Dad to come and help for a while. It was summer, and I was out of school, and although Mother worried about me being away from her for the first time ever, she reluctantly agreed that it would be okay for me to go with Dad.
We left right after supper. Dad said we wouldn’t stay in any motels. We would sleep in the car instead. We drove most of the night and all the next day through Arizona and Colorado, stopping at such sites as the Navajo reservation, Four Corners, and Mesa Verde. In the evening, we reached Durango, Colorado. The following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver details our adventures there.
A Memorable Stop in Colorado
In the summer of 1971 at the age of ten,
I traveled with Dad from our home in Tucson, Arizona,
to Sheridan, Wyoming, to visit Grandma.
While bar hopping in Durango,
I had Coke—Dad drank something stronger.
One establishment served hot dogs.
I liked them plain with not even a bun.
I must have had at least three.
Intoxicated, we made our way to the car.
I slept on the back seat
while Dad slept on the ground nearby.
Who knows where we were when we woke up?
When we got to Wyoming, I was disappointed to learn that state law prohibited children from being allowed in bars. As an adult, I see the sense in that, but as a child, I found bars fascinating and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t accompany Dad into a bar in Wyoming when I could in Colorado.
I’ve never liked the taste of alcoholic beverages. As a kid, I was given sips of beer and wine but wasn’t impressed. I was told that I would appreciate these drinks when I was older. On my nineteenth birthday, we all went out to dinner to celebrate. I tried wine, beer, and even a wine cooler with 7-up, but nothing tasted good. I decided then and there that alcohol was not for me.
Did you ever go into a bar when you were a kid? Were you with your parents or did you sneak in with friends as a teen-ager? Did you ever try anything alcoholic before you reached the legal drinking age? Tell me about it. Leave me a comment below.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver