In Boozo Veritas # 59 by Teege Braune
A Family Sousing in Michigan
Jenn and I flew to Michigan on Thursday for a long weekend that pinnacled at the wedding of my cousin Brian who had asked me to be a groomsman. Jenn had never been to Michigan and I had only been once fifteen years ago. During that trip three of my college buddies and I racked up the mileage making a circle around the state that included Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Flint, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and culminated at MSU in Eat Lansing. We did all this over the course of the week that was our spring break, never staying in one place for more than two nights, smoking cigarettes, guzzling coffee, and eating hamburgers from fast food joints the entire journey. This recent trip, however, was more stationary and somewhat less self-abusive. I have since given up the cigarettes and hamburgers and keep my coffee consumption at moderate levels. Nevertheless, I’ve added the vice of alcohol, something in which we did not much indulge fifteen years ago because we were nineteen and found acquiring it difficult in strange cities.
Like many families, when mine gets together large quantities of alcohol are always consumed. For my mother’s generation, the gender binary is almost universal. My aunts drink wine; my uncles drink Coors Light, and while Bud Light will do in a pinch, Miller Lite, PBR, Yuengling, and everything else that technically qualifies as beer is out of the question. Also, there’s always a bottle of bourbon that no one claims to have brought. Sometimes I am the source of its origin; at other times it is Brian or my brother Nic, and at other occasions, no one knows where it came from, but we drink it anyway because it’s bourbon, and we’re from Louisville. Bourbon calls to us, is in our cultural heritage like a familiar hearth even when we’re far away from home.
Brian was kind enough to book Jenn and me a reservation at a quaint, dreamy bed and breakfast called the Brickhouse at Somerset. From the idyllic garden in the backyard to the antiques collected in every nook and corner to the cats that lazily roamed the corridors, the atmosphere of the Brickhouse created the sensation of time slowed nearly to a crawl. The owner Sandy was more than accommodating when we crawled down the stairs to breakfast a couple hours later than she intended to serve it. She and her partner Ron stayed up late with us listening to Leonard Cohen, and in this charming and relaxed environment, a welcomed contrast from the hectic nature of a wedding, still we were constantly being offered alcohol as Sandy and Ron keep an marvelous collection of fine wines and Michigan’s many craft beers, a nice break from Coors Light. As if to demonstrate that there is more to the world than just bourbon, Ron poured Jenn and I each a glass of a twenty-one year old port-barrel aged Scotch that had me rethinking my prejudice towards Kentucky whiskies.
The wedding itself lay amidst a panorama of sprawling, pristine farmland. My cousin Christina spoke for all of us when she described it as the most picturesque wedding she’d ever been to. As soon as the ceremony had ended my mom and my aunts kept shouting for Christina’s husband David to get them another glass of wine despite the fact the there were servers designated for that very purpose. My mom who had several glasses of wine, which is a lot for her, had grown liberal with the camera, was forcing everyone to stop what they were doing and smile for rigidly posed photographs, which Uncle Lenny routinely photobombed. She would approve of these moments by giving out fist bumps. My sister Abby and cousin Jenny danced their signature moves, mostly a lot of arms flailing. The best man Corbin relieved a legitimate concern shared by many of the guests and gave a toast that was sweet, funny, and not completely inappropriate. Meghan and Brian, the bride and the groom, were beautiful together, and a lot of people cried, but in a good way.
I was sorry to part ways with that crew, especially since I didn’t get to spend that much time with Brian as he was so busy preparing for the wedding. On my way out, I gave him a hug and promised to see him during Thanksgiving. Then I thrust his wedding gift in his hands.
“Hell, just open this now while we’re both here,” I said.
He unwrapped the bottle of Michter’s Rye Whiskey Jenn and I had gotten for him.
“Ew, Daddy like,” he said lecherously as he turned the bottle over in his hands.
We sat with David and Christina on the flight back to Orlando talking about their two children and catching up on family gossip. The scenery from the windows was surreally beautiful: on one side of the aisle the sun set on an ethereal landscape of billowing clouds in a unobtainable paradise streaked with various shades of blue and pink while on the other side lightening lit up the sky as it burst within clouds many feet below us. I used to be a stalwart writer on airplanes, but although I knew I had my blog waiting for me when I got home, I decided to put it off for a few more hours. Christina had given us a free drink ticket, and as I considered what to cash it in for, nothing, neither beer nor wine nor liquor, sounded refreshing. What the hell is wrong with me? I thought. I never turn down free drinks. Was I actually boozed out? I wasn’t even hung over, just really thirsty for actual water. As I was thinking I would be morally obligated to retire this blog dedicated to writing, literature, and drinking, Jenn used the ticket to buy a gin and tonic, of which I drank more than my fair share. Temperance vanquished once again, In Boozo Veritas is yet saved!
Teege Braune (episode 72, episode 75, episode 77, episode 90, episode 102) is a writer of literary fiction, horror, essays, and poetry. Recently he has discovered the joys of drinking responsibly. He may or may not be a werewolf.