I have this memory that has blurred over time. I’m not sure if it is entirely my own or a reinforced image that I’ve seen over and over again.
The memory is this: a couple of guys leaning up against a truck or sitting in the setting sun drinking an ice-cold lager after completing some sort of arbitrary task.
They might be blue-collar workers, like Will and Chuckie in “Good Will Hunting,” or prisoners like Andy and Red in “The Shawshank Redemption,” or just a couple of suburban dads talking about tractors on a Sunday morning.
In my mind, it’s always ice-cold beer. Someone is wiping the sweat from their brow. They sigh deeply after each lusty gulp, and it doesn’t matter if it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. If the chores are in process it’s okay to crack the can.
It is less Sunday Funday and more about enjoying the reward while doing the work. I’m pretty certain there was a weekend morning where I handed a can of beer to my own dad as he pushed the throttle from rabbit to turtle, slowing the tractor blade down just enough to give the illusion of safety.
Even though I can still smell the grass decades later, I don’t know for sure what really happened.
Now that I’m an adult, I’ve found these justifiable weekend morning beer opportunities come along much less often than you would think. Especially living in a coastal city where I don’t have a garage to putter in or a lawn to mow. So when my friend Greg Peters asked if I “want to help break down a shed?” I jumped at it.
After we took out a few screws, removed the roof, and worked on some strategy for completing the rest of the job, I off-handedly mentioned that in the old days this would be the kind of weekend job that we’d probably need to have a beer to two to finish.
I should mention three key facts before continuing this story.
First, Greg is moving so there was no refrigerator in the kitchen, and I assumed there wouldn’t be any beer in the house. Second, it was 9:00 AM. Third, Greg is the Chief Brewing Officer at Juneshine Hard Kombucha.
“What about a Juneshine?” he asked, and I waffled. Even though I like the idea of being a man drinking while doing honest work, I also had weekend chores of my own, and a beverage or two could have been a good way towards ensuring they wouldn’t get done.
At this point, the timeline is a little suspect, but I believe Greg disappeared for a moment. I used an Allen wrench to loosen something, and when Greg reappeared he had a small cooler filled with Chili Mango and Blood Orange Mint Juneshines.
We cracked open a can and continued with the job. The shed came down faster than we expected, and after we finished strapping it down on the back of the truck there was time to shoot the breeze. We opened another can. The Juneshine wasn’t the lager I saw in my mind, but I think it was better. It was a little lighter and brighter. It was ice cold, and refreshing with a jalapeño kick.
Greg stood next to his truck and told us about the work he’d have to do at his new place. I leaned against our Prius sharing a hard kombucha with my wife. It felt like all of those memories, but with a modern twist. I’m pretty sure somewhere nearby someone was cutting some grass.
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