When my Old Man was still drinking he’d take my brother and me to the bar at the Ginger Man where we’d drink Cokes on the rocks with twists of lime. Sometimes my twin sister came too but I don’t have any memories of her being there. I was ten, eleven years old but felt like a grown up at the bar so it didn’t occur to me that there was anything strange about a father taking his sons to drink with him.
Eventually, that changed. One day, I was sitting next to a friend of the old man’s who was so loaded, slurring his words, putting his arms around me, that I thought he was going to fall on me. Maybe what the rest of the family said was true, after all–maybe my dad was an alcoholic, though I wasn’t sure what an alcoholic was.
While the Old Man was getting drunk on Vodka tonics, we pretended to get drunk on Coke, which came out of a magic soda gun, not a bottle. We ate salty peanuts which was special because we never had those kinds of peanuts at home. And on occasion, they’d serve home made potato chips that were still warm.
One of the bartenders showed us how to rim the glass with the slice of lime and to this day a Coke doesn’t taste the same unless it’s on the rocks with a twist of lime.