I found myself in someone’s yard sitting in the grass and enjoying the afternoon with friends and family. They were sitting around in the grass, too, and on a porch just talking and drinking beers and smoking cigarettes. They were all smoking cigarettes.
Funny, when I go back and think about it now. There had been a fire of some sort and some cleanup had taken place, where several shovels of burnt stuff and charred matter were just thrown into the middle of the yard. What seemed disturbing was a large amount of the debris was made in large part by medicine bottles, mostly broken and spilling out the contents into the grass and charcoal. I was alarmed that no one seemed to pay any attention to the potential hazard that could get out of hand and threaten me somehow.
Part of the ugliness was in the color of the mostly broken bottles , they were ugly amber brown. Not something pretty. It reminded me of the color of a brown gallon Purex bottle my grandmother used from time to time. It had a bad smell that made me dislike that color.
Grownups were quite lazy after the big meal and just sat around smoking, but, I noticed they watched me as I kinda poked around through all the little piles of colored pills. They were watching me to see if I was going to swallow one. The smell of the Purex made the impression that those pills probably tasted like the Purex, even though you aren’t suppose to taste pills, but just swallow them instead. When one of them gets stuck in your throat, you wind up tasting it anyway.
A big man was close to me sitting in the grass with his shirt off. Old men did that to cool off when there wasn’t a breeze. He sorta slipped over and fell to laying over sideways in the grass. When I laid in the grass with my shirt off, I would get itchy, so I didn’t do it much.
He would lean up and drink, no, gulp his beer and lay back down in the itchy grass. He would try and talk to the other people around him but slowly, his words would slur a bit.
He tried to keep talking, somewhat. He began to make more and more no sense. Some people were laughing at his antics. He became yard entertainment.
I was told to ask him a question and see what kind of an answer he would give back. He was funny. Then he was sad. I took a blade of grass and tickled his belly and he would swat it. That was funny.
I could tell him that he was going to be dropped into a burning fire and he would yell, “Nooo.” He would not wake up, but he continued to talk his “drunk talk”.
I remember it was on a Sunday afternoon and I was going to have to go to school the next day, so we left. We left the pills and the broken bottles, and the charred wood used to set the pill bottles on fire, which they didn’t do.
I never figured out if he was a drunk or just drunk. Unknowingly, I began to learn about alcoholics and drunks. Maybe the second grade or maybe just the first.
2 thoughts on “Was he a drunk or was he just drunk”
Jon – first time I’ve seen you writing about this. Waiting to see more. Seems like a very pertinent topic and I have this gut feeling that you have many more stories in you! – Peg
It was just a flash from long ago, but abrupt. Thought I would ‘air it out” , as many people and families struggle with alcohol or other addictions. Sad to say, but they just don’t go away. Shining a light can guide one to a new path.