Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The weather’s been chilly lately. Brewgal knew it was cold when she came home to find this on Mr. Brewguy’s dresser:

Yes, that’s yeast in the bedroom. Apparently it was so cold in the basement for the yeasties they weren’t growing properly.

Love those little yeasties, love them in my beer

In addition, the fermenter showed up in the powder room.

Yes, it’s been cold at Lincoln Street. But you know what Pedro says…
Chili today,
Hot tamale

South of the Border
My mother grew up in Florida. OLD Florida circa 1942. She ended up in DC working for NIH, married my father and settled in Maryland. But every year we’d make the pilgrimage back to Gainesville to visit my grandparents.

These experiences are seared into my mind, mostly because of the heat. There’s nothing like driving a gazillion miles in an un-air-conditioned Plymouth Valiant during the month of August. My father knew this. He would bundle the four of us into the car well before sunrise so as to “beat the traffic” on the Beltway. The goal was to make it as far as South Carolina before having to stop for the night.

My brother and I would be piled in the back, stretched out on pillows (seat belt laws were more lax back then). I used to lay back and watch the stars move through the back window. I’d get that funny floaty feeling in the pit of my stomach, the way you feel when you’re at the top of the arc on a swing, ready to head back down with gravity.

It was awesome.

My mother made these trips with a large thermos of sweetened iced tea sitting on the floorboard of the car, sandwiched between her legs. I don’t know how she did it. Brewgal gets all freaky when there’s anything on the floor near her feet, much less impeding her legroom. Mom would hand out little cups of tea and lifesavers to make the trip more interesting.

Are we there yet?
Going south on 95 the mile markers count down so it was easy to know how far one had to go in each state. Every state had its own character. Virginia went on forever. The pine trees started in North Carolina. Georgia had that enormous peach. Orange juice at the Florida State Line and the stench of the paper mills near Jacksonville. The best part were the South of the Border billboards: Burma Shave of the 1970’s. They were tackiness incarnate; bad puns (see quote above), stereotypical depictions (giant sombrero-wearing Latinos), animal abuse (that poor donkey!) No amount of begging on our part could convince my parents to stop there on our journey southward.

Like many things subject to denial, the place began to take on mythical proportions. The billboards were placed closer and closer together as you approached the South Carolina border. Some had moving parts! Every car seemed to have a South of the Border bumper sticker.

Except us. We never stopped.
I hear the old place is still there, still tempting the weary and the unwary with Pedro's promises.
Someday, when we make the journey southward with the little Brewers we may stop. Maybe.
Or maybe it's a place best left to my imagination.

1 comment:

Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

One of my ex's used to try to make his own beer in the basement, but he never could get the hang of it--and now I'm wondering if it was because he didn't understand about the temperature thing.