70 IPA’s

 Charlie and I went out about 4:00 PM to pick up stuff.

Don’t be late was our only instruction. Folks were expected to arrive at the front door at 6:30. It was raining, not the kind of day one would want to take an afternoon drive just for the fun of it. We, Charlie and I, got the proscribed stuff, got back early, in time to strike a match to the already laid fire.

There they were: a stack of  70 IPA’s ! … Against the west wall of the living room. I knew without counting that there would be 70. There is something about birthdays that end with  a  0  that bring out the prankster in friends and neighbors. ( And, we do have great friends and neighbors. ) It might even be possible that we were sent out for stuff to give Mike and Joe time to come in and do their thing.

And, in case you didn’t know: there is beer, and then there is Pale Ale, especially India Pale Ale. There was a time when I always had a bit of Anheuser-Busch in the tall blue cans in the refrigerator. Then I discovered that life is too short to drink cheap beer. Then I discovered IPA’s.

In 1752 George Hodgson began brewing, in London, an ale designed for long ocean voyages. It was high in alcohol and heavy on the hops. Both these attributes are necessary to give beer some protection against spoilage on the long sea journey to India. Which, in the day before the Suez Canal, meant sailing the length of Africa on both sides, east and west, and traversing the Cape of Good Hope. Across the equator not once, but twice, and it wasn’t exactly going to be chilly in India when it arrived!

The beer had to survive, arrive and survive some more if it was to be worth the trouble to put aboard ship at all. Regular old beer would have about as much chance of surviving to India as a snowman!  

If you are in our neighborhood, come by and we’ll sing an old Marine Corps ( and sailor’s ) drinking song:   

All For Me Ale I’m sick Oh me head well I haven’t been to bedSince first I came ashore from me slumber

I’ve spent all me dough on the lassies don’t you know   


Oh it’s all for me ale me jolly, jolly, ale 

It’s all for me rum and tobacco 

I’ve a spent all me tin with the lassies drinking gin

Oh across the stormy sea to India I must go

                                  Come by and join me for an IPA !


About Tom Honea

the south mississippi i grew up in did not yet have paved roads or telephones or televisions. it did have great story tellers, on front porches in the summer or around the fire place in the winter. we were poverty stricken, financially but not culturally. we didn't know it. everybody up and down the road was in the same boat. . after forty years of day jobs i am approaching my "fishing years." i plan to spend them writing. i have a finished and edited deep south novel in the "marketing" stages. currently i'm deep into a WW II home front piece set in the Hampton Roads, VA area. notes and character sketches are already underway for "From Hiroshima to Elvis" ( the ten years after the war ) on the coastal areas of South Carolina. . visit asheville ... come and see me.
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