Originally published in the September 2021 Issue of the Old Town Crier Magazine
“You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning!”
My fraternity brother, Smitty, speaks these words to me while he’s ladling Bloody Mary’s out of a full 12-gallon stock pot into two plastic cups for us. The year is 1982. It is eight o’clock in the morning on my first football Saturday living in the fraternity house. There are two 12-gallon stock pots on the bar, the Bloody Mary one, and one full of vodka and orange juice, Screwdrivers, next to it. These are our morning vitamins. The smell of stale beer that had been spilled at the party the night before is our potpourri. I remember the drinks being great. But I’m sure they were terrible.
My palate today is much more developed than my 20-year-old palate. Soon we will be in a pickup truck with 3 kegs of beer, a grill, hotdogs, hamburgers, and the accompanying accoutrements. The kegs are full of cheap, mass-produced beer. That’s how it is when you are in college. It was also years before the craft beer trend hit the US. High end beer at this time was imported beer, and it was expensive. We are on our way to the stadium parking lot, about to have a tailgate party. Tailgates are an American tradition that did not have its beginnings at a football game. It has its roots in traditional Fall bounty festivals and a Civil War battle.