Through Greg Hankins I reconnected with a poker room shift manager from my gambling days (see Has Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend). His name is Josh Peters. He reminded me that I gave him a bottle of scotch (which was surely a quid pro quo because as both will attest to, I’m fairly rambunctious and that scotch most certainly saved me from being eighty-sixed . . . just as uncountable other bottles of spirits have).
The following is taken from an email Josh sent to me on 12 January 2017.
Mr. Hall, once again our paths cross. Drowning our sorrows in conversation, cheap women and expensive liquor. There was a day that you entered the Binion’s Horseshoe Casino Museum of Old Farts. It was on a Thursday. The beginning of one your numerous long weekend affairs.
Somehow the conversation switched to Scotch. Knowing me, I think I overheard you talking and decided to interject. You asked if I liked a good single malt. Who doesn’t? Right? You told me that you had something for me and before you left that you would drop it off. The next day, in the office was a box of 21 year old Balvenie Portwood. I think that is correct. I’m too tired to look it up.
Regardless, I was delighted. I left Binions, box tucked safely in my armpit and wrapped in a Safeway bag. A choice made with great thought in order to escape the homeless assault that could be expected if they were aware of the cargo I carried. I set the box nicely on the passenger seat of my 1988 Honda Crx and buckled her in. 30 minutes to get home, I arrived. I hit the kitchen, pulled out my two Crown Royal crystal promotional gift tumblers. Poured two small glasses, one neat and one over ice, which my wife scoffed at me for. I handed my wife the neat. She downed hers, I sipped mine and settled into my leather La-Z-Boy with a 2nd.
I put the bottle back in its box. Still smelling the smoky oak and port wine on my lips, I placed the box in the cabinet above the microwave. I slept well. After work the next day, I returned home. It was close to midnight. Gleefully thinking about enjoying a glass of my new elixir, I opened the cabinet and was shocked to find less than an inch of scotch left in the bottom of the bottle.
With an empty glass by the kitchen sink and a fairly hungover wife asleep in our bed, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” I erupted.“This isn’t something you drink in an afternoon! It’s for when you want a drink after dinner or if you have company.” The tirade went on, muttering things like “you’d think it was Jim Beam” under my breath. I’m not even sure what her response was. Maybe, “I’m sorry but you know better than to keep liquor in the house.”
What I do know now from you, Mr. Hall, is that is exactly how that bottle is meant to be consumed. The John Hall way. I’d never give my wife the satisfaction of telling her that though….
You are correct Josh, that’s how a good bottle of Scotch is to be consumed. Your story reconfirms my decision to not cohabitate.