Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Chub and I have had our share of ups and d...

Chub and I have had our share of ups and downs, disagreements, differences of opinion, etc. But there’s one argument -- only one -- that followed us for many years. It has to do with Christmas gifts, property rights and things like that. I hasten to admit that I was the sure loser when this topic popped up in conversation. As the saying goes, “I done bad!”

Chub was an inspector of construction at the University of Missouri. He’d check blueprints and contracts and report to MU’s director of construction about the progress being made on new buildings. He’d check the temperature of concrete before it could be poured on cold days, check the quality of materials being used and things like that. It was occasionally necessary for him to be lowered down into the ground to verify a solid-rock base for the concrete piers that would be poured into those deep holes. Obviously, the contractors, architects and suppliers liked Chub. He was soft-spoken, has a ready grin and he often ironed out rough spots without getting riled up. It’s no surprise that he received symbols of appreciation at Christmastime. Not all, but some of those tokens came bottled, beautifully packaged, and were called “Christmas Cheer.” Now how much good whiskey can a teetotaler like Chub Gerard use in his once-a-year egg nog?

The tallest cabinet became his “liquor locker” and was rarely opened from one Christmas till the next. A number of the best-quality products were resting there, serving no one. I suspect that he seldom thought about this cache. I’d suggested that he give it away, but no. They were gifts. They were his. He used to laugh and quote a German relative who had barrels of wine in his cellar. George explained that he just kept “a little in case of sickness!” It was like money stashed in a rat hole. Then I entered the picture and “did bad.”

Some fellows with whom I worked were planning a weekend turkey hunt. I overheard them tossing around some names of the Christmas cheer in Chub’s liquor locker. I guessed by their giggling and teasing that this turkey hunt was just a spree. Ah, here was the chance to make space in my top cabinet! I had considered giving a fifth to friends who’d appreciate it, but that would seem to be approving the habit. I was too frugal to flush that expensive stuff down the drain. So in a flash of insight, I said to the hunters, “I’ll provide the liquor for you.” They stared, disbelieving. “What kind do you want?” I asked naming some brands that rate full-page ads in slick-paper magazines. They would be happy to help me solve my storage problem.

The next morning I put three fifths of the best brands into a grocery bag and placed it in one fellow’s car, feeling sort of guilty that I’d not asked Chub if it would be OK. At home, the subject didn’t come up for months, maybe a year. Chub heard me tell someone that I had given away three bottles from his liquor locker. Wow! He hit the ceiling.

He had a right to be hurt, angry even, and I could offer no defense. Having several bottles left for his egg nog didn’t ease his pain. It was the principle of the thing. Today, as we approach our 58th wedding anniversary we laugh together about my giving Chub’s liquor without permission.

Incidentally, we’ve not made egg nog for several years and have saved only “a little in case of illness.”

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