I ran into an old friend …

and former coworker the other day (actually, when Marion and I were leaving the restaurant where we had our Valentine’s Day dinner). He has a new business that I’ll have to check out.

Which reminds me of one night during senior year in high school, when I was sitting around at a friend’s house with a couple other guys, eating baklava his mother had made and playing a Japanese drinking game comprised of six small cups in different sizes, each with a different flower or other pattern, and a die with corresponding patterns on the faces. You’d roll the die, then drink the cup that matched the up face.

We might have been playing cards, with the loser of the hand having to roll the die, but it’s too long ago for me to really remember. I also don’t remember what we were drinking. Probably sake; maybe ouzo. It’s not as though we were discriminating drinkers, anyway. Jax and Pearl were more commonly available to teenagers in our area. (Which, in turn, reminds me that I once got to see the two-headed calf and the diving horse act at the Pearl Brewery.)

I don’t remember, but I probably walked or rode my bicycle to my friend’s house; my family only had one car, and I was rarely able to drive it on my own.

Society was more relaxed about drinking in general back then. My parents’ generation held cocktail parties (I can remember lurking on the stairs as a young boy, watching when the neighbors came over and I was supposed to be in bed). Underage drinking seemed to cause fewer problems, also, although I’m sure that varied by community. You couldn’t buy anything until you were 18 (which was also draft age, although voting age was 21), but there were no legal restraints back then preventing an adult from giving you something to drink, and there was normally a “it’s just kids blowing off steam” reaction to it, as long as nobody was hurt. I had an English teacher in high school who provided drinks on occasion (not in school – you had to go over to her place). I also remember various “fermentation experiments” being run in the back of one of the physics classrooms.

Funny what memories a chance encounter can bring back.

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