We’re at a gas-station-barbecue-joint
You don’t see that sort of thing anymore.
The truth is, I come from a long line of quart-jar aficionados. My grandaddy sipped a jar on weekends, holidays, fishing trips, and baby dedications. My father also had a collection for special occasions—stored in the shed rafters above the tractor. I wasn’t supposed to know about those.
Once, my friend and I sampled the contents. We climbed into the rafters. He took a swig and coughed.
“It burns,” he said.
A few seconds later, he fell off the beam onto the dirt. When I asked if he was alright, he laughed, saying, “I never felt gooder!”
That kid is a missionary now.
It doesn’t end there. My environmentally-minded wife carries a quart-jar of water in her purse—instead of a plastic bottle. Once, to be funny, I drew three X’s on the front.
During a church service, in Wetumpka, Alabama, a ravenous case of cottonmouth overcame her. She unscrewed the lid, then turned it upside down. This drew wide-eyed looks from nearly everyone in Elmore County. Including the preacher.
The man beside me whispered, “Pass it this’a way, son.”
When I was a boy, my friend’s family drank from quart jars. Mama said it was because they couldn’t afford tableware. When my friend’s father developed prostate cancer, churchgoers took turns delivering groceries.
My father made a delivery once, they invited us inside their shotgun house. My friend’s daddy accepted the bags and said, “If there’s ever any way I can repay you, don’t hesitate. I may be sick, but I can work.”
Well, that man helped us install a thirteen-acre fence, once. Daddy tried to pay him; he refused. Later that afternoon, they sipped tea from fruit jars and laughed until sundown.
I remember my pal’s daddy saying, “It’s the damnedest thing, when you’re dying you pray for lots of miracles—what you get is lots of people.”
I can’t seem to forget that.
I saw that friend recently. When I asked about his daddy, he said, “Oh, Daddy’s great, he just had a birthday.”
Then he added, “Hey, remember when your daddy dropped off all those groceries? Did you know, he put packs of baseball cards in there too?”
As it happens, I didn’t.
I took my tea to-go.
They let me keep the jar.