Friday, March 27, 2009


I got a computer letter from one of my beloved Great Uncles today. He is a WWII veteran, a father of three children, and a loving husband caring for his wife who has Alzheimers.

I won't share his entire story, because Blogger doesn't give you that much bits. But he was struck by a drunk driver a couple of years back. He spent many weeks in a hospital, had his skull cut open, had five brain surgeries, etc.

He had some pretty funny things to say about the "beer drinkers" he served with in the Navy (they're a little too raw for this family friendly blog). But he wanted me to tell you all how much money his particular run-in with a drunk driver cost the US....(about $450,000). He wrote, "Can you imagine what the booze industry costs this nation?? The cost would make Obama's spending look like just pennies. One can say that insurance paid for it, but who pays for insurance?"

He finished by telling you all to make sure that if you get hit by a drunk, get somebody to take a lot of pictures...on the scene, in the hospital...and especially make sure they get pictures of all the tubes running out of your body.

I wrote this back to him...I ain't proud of it...but it's the facts...

I'll tell you a story if you promise to keep it just between us girls...

I had never had a sip of alcohol growing up...not even NyQuil. When I was a Junior in High School, our football team had won the District Championship, and all the kids were gathering at the end of the stadium to celebrate. A couple of guys I knew (and liked) were pouring up Southern Comfort, and one of them handed me a cup. I couldn't get it past my nose. The smell of it was so foreign to me that I couldn't pass it to my throat.

I never drank a beer until I was about 22 years old. My eldest son Dean (now 28 years, I'm getting old) was deeply afflicted as an infant with colic. It was awful...truly awful. The poor little guy didn't sleep all night until he was 8 months was awful.

By the time that he was born in 1980, paragoric (not sure if I spelled that right) was off the market. Pam and I were desperate for some help. The poor little guy would be up all day, and all night screaming his lungs out. I would be up most of the night trying to comfort him, and then try to show up capable for work the next day. I was like a Zombie, and Pam was even more fried...she was letting him suckle about every 45 minutes 24 hours a day just to keep his mouth shut (It's a miracle that we had three more boys later on...or that we stayed married through all of that).

Your mother gave us an idea..."get him some paragoric!" Thanks for the advice Granny's not available anymore. But your sister (name withheld to protect the guilty) had an idea. She was at the store visiting, and I was just like a poor bum that would kill for a nickel. At this point, I would have taken any idea and given it a try! "(Her withheld to protect the daughter of the guilty)'s doctor told her to drink a beer every night before breastfeeding. The beer will help with yeast production, and a small amount of alcohol will be in your milk. That will help calm him down."

As I said, we were desperate! So, on the way home from working at the store, I stopped off at a convenience store, and picked up a 6-bottle thing of Coors beer. Pam said that she was this point she was willing to eat a gun I guess. I open up the beer bottle and hand it to her...Bravely she takes a swig...and it all spews back out...all over everything... (Gonna have to keep looking for ideas, I guess)

But there was this left-over beer. Now, I had never had one, and had spent the three bucks so...3 beers into the 6, I couldn't even hear Dean screaming his lungs out! I was thinking, "this stuff works good!" I was pretty well wiped out on the couch when Pam came into the living room about 10 p.m. "Andy, something is really wrong with Dean. He's burning up with fever...he's been screaming all day...and I just can't take it anymore!!!" I staggered to his nursery, and sure enough, he was hotter than the bad place. I told her that I was going to take him to the emergency room.

Bless her heart, she knew that I'd had some beer, but as a 21-year-old girl that had had no sleep for weeks, and was really "past her wits-end" she helped me load him up in the car (still dressed in her housecoat from 3 days before...a colicy baby will do that to you). I did pretty good. I remembered which way the hospital was, and to turn the headlights on. But when I weaved all over the road coming down the off-ramp from I-20, and couldn't quite tell whether that light was red or green...

The words of St. Peter echoed in my head..."Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour." I thought to myself, "What in the world am I doing? I'm out here in a four thousand pound machine, hauling my only child to the hospital for his life to be saved...and I could well kill somebody else on the way!" I told myself right then and there that I was an ass...and I promised God that I'd never do this again.

When I finally loped my way to the hospital, sure enough Dean had a 106 degree temperature. He was unresponsive to anything! I cried like a baby, and I guess the doctor in charge realized I was looped. He got me involved. He put Dean in this huge sink, and handed me a cup. He told me VERY FORCEFULLY to keep running cold water over him...over his head and shoulders. And in a couple of minutes a nurse brought me a HUGE cup of coffee.

Dean lived...and as Granddaddy always said..."he done well!" It was an ear infection. I got back home around 2 am. Pam was sleeping for the first time in days. I was sobered up. Dean was asleep for the first time in days...sleeping like a little angel.

I promised myself, "NEVER AGAIN." You never know when you might be required to fulfill a responsibility. Old St. Peter was pretty sharp...

Love ya, Andy

Y'all don't tell anybody about this, okay...


  1. Good on ya. As you know I'm a dedicated teetotaler for many reasons not the least of which is the unseemly amount of destruction alcohol consumption brings to society, families, and individuals.

    Like you, I didn't drink a drop in high school, imbibed a bit in college, and then gave it up entirely in 1979. Haven't had a drop since...

  2. Yeah was a real "eye popper" for me. When you're trying to steer a big old LTD down a ramp with someone in the back seat that completely "depends" on you...well, God can really get hold of your heart.

  3. I didn't have the same experience you did. I had the unfortunate experience of watching my mother drink herself to death.

    Left a mark if you know what I mean...


Don't cuss nobody out, okay?