It was because of the many westerns we watched on TV that my brothers and I clamored for the whiskey challenge.
You get the idea.
I was 13 when we moved to the farm where my parents would make their home for nearly the rest of their lives. Our neighbors gave my folks a bottle of whisky as a going-away gift.
My parents didn’t drink whiskey. For more years than I’d like to admit to, I wondered why on earth the neighbors did that.
I did finally figure it out. Welcome to gag gifts.
But as a 13-year-old, I saw that bottle as an opportunity.
“We want to try it,” I told Mom. My brothers at 11 and 8 both agreed. We’d seen the saloon settings in the westerns. We wanted in on the excitement.
Mom finally agreed.
She pulled out three Dixie paper cups, the ones with the yellow flowers on the outside that you’d usually use to rinse your teeth after brushing.
Mom set those three cups on the counter just like the bartenders in the westerns did.
I wanted to compliment her on her bartending skills but something held me back. Probably the anticipation of this exciting re-enactment.
Mom poured the dark liquid into each cup.
“There you go,” she said.
There we were. We’d seen how to drink whiskey. The cowboys swirled the drink in their shot glass and then tossed it into their throat like ice water to a parched throat.
We knew how to do that.
We swirled our drinks, opened our mouths and tossed that whiskey in.
Cowboys in our westerns didn’t gag on whiskey. They didn’t cough and pant, trying to get the foul taste out of their mouths. They didn’t run for the faucet and guzzle cold water until the burn faded.
Cowboys didn’t but we sure did.
I never checked my mom’s response that day but I’ll bet she was smirking.
Now that I’ve figured out about gag gifts.