No, my dad hasn't come back to life, reincarnated by some cruel twist of fate as a Bud Light drinker.
Though I suppose I wouldn't complain if that did happen. There are worse things to be reincarnated as. Pubic lice. Opossums. One of Michael Jackson's kids.
Anyway, that little scene depicted above happened back in 1995 or so. Dad's favorite beer, Falls City, had been sold and had its recipe changed. Out of protest Dad switched to Bud Light for a while. He liked to say that he only switched back once the recipe had been changed back to what it was, though I doubt that he really believed that.
I think he simply realized that, in his own way, he was a bit of a beer snob, and to drink mass-produced industrial swill, even in protest, was just too much for him to do.
I know the feeling. I'm a beer snob myself. The only difference is that I choose to drink good beers, while Dad was content to stick with what he'd grown up drinking.
Since I'm the son of an alcoholic, and since I'm also someone that's been known to imbibe occasionally myself, you might be surprised that in my life I only spent maybe six hours total in bars with my dad.
I spent the first fifteen years of my adult life living all over creation, and when I did come home to visit, I'd usually hang out with my sister Dina. Or, when Dad had some time off work, we'd go hang out at one of his places in the country.
When I did finally move back home, Dad died shortly afterwards. That sucked.
I've been thinking a lot today about Dad. I'm not really sure why. Maybe because a few days ago would have been his and Mom's 43rd wedding anniversary. Maybe because I'm tired of thinking about women. Maybe there's no reason except that I had a dream with him in it a couple of days ago.
I've often been accused, mainly by my youngest sister Neisha, of turning into my maternal grandfather. I guess this is because I'm a grouch sometimes, so I'll concede that there is some slight resemblance. Sometimes.
But the biggest resemblance, I like to think anyway, is with my dad.
I already know that many of my interests I got from him. I already know that we shared the same tastes in humor, and books, and movies. I already know that he was a romantic at heart, and that's something I've discovered about myself over the past couple of years. He valued his privacy, maybe even more than I do.
I know what kind of person he was. He was the best. But what I don't really know is what he was like. I mean, we'd hang out at his cabin or in his apartment, and we'd talk about whatever, but there was almost always that father/son vibe going on. I never really had many chances to see what he was like when he stepped outside of his role as my father.
I wish he was still alive. That goes without saying. I wish I'd had the chance to know him as others knew him. To know him as Dave instead of as Dad.
And that brings me back to the bar.
Did he, like me, have a few people who he'd hang out with, or was he more of an everybody's friend type of person? I'm certainly the former, but I don't know how Dad was.
Would he sit at the bar by himself, contemplating life, and be perfectly content doing it? Did he hate crowds of idiots as much as I do? Could he spend an entire night talking with a single person, and feel uncomfortable in a group of more than just a few people? Would he get quiet during those times and just listen to everyone else and make sarcastic comment in his head? When he got bored or disgusted or depressed, would he just get up and leave, like I do?
It really bothers me that I'll never know these things.
If Dad was alive, and we hung out at the same bar, would people guess that he was my father? There was certainly no physical resemblance, but what about the other things? Am I enough like him that people, upon hearing about our relationship, might nod their heads and say, "I knew there was something similar about you two!"
Could I go down to Ramsey's bar in Derby, and talk to one of the regulars there for a while, and have him say, "You know, you remind me a lot of a friend of mine. His name was Dave, too. He died seven or eight years ago. He was a great guy."
Do I carry enough of him around inside me that, in a way, he lives on even today?
I'd like to think so, but I just don't know. And now, now I doubt that I ever will.