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Mom and the Booze

Story ID:7950
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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Mom and the Booze
Chuck Dishno


My Mom, Lura, was born Lura Hartman in 1897 and raised in Missoula, Montana. She came from a very religious background. Her grandfather was a professor of Greek and Hebrew and taught near Tacoma, Washington. I donít think alcohol was part of their life.

Skip ahead a few years when Mom met my Pop and moved to Oregon where I was born in 1937. My Dad was not a drinker and I can only remember him having a beer on a few occasions. He had to be really hot and then he would sip a cold beer. I donít ever recall my Mom having one. She may have had but if she did she sure kept it a secret.

In November 1985, Roz, Mom and I decided to visit my brother, Bud, for Thanksgiving in Kingman, Arizona. We had a 1978 Diesel Mercedes and since we lived in the county on 5 acres, we had a 100 gallon diesel tank to fill our two diesel vehicles and a diesel tractor.

Early on the day before Thanksgiving, I filled the Mercedes. The tank was getting low so I tilted it up a few inches to get as much in the car as I could. This was a mistake as there was some sediment in the bottom of the tank and no filter. I didnít realize it at the time but I must have picked up some.

We loaded Mom in the back seat of the Mercedes and started out on the 450-mile drive. All went well until we reached Barstow, California. As we were coming into Barstow, I noticed the Mercedes running slower and slower. By the time we got into Barstow, it stopped completely and left me on the side of the road. I had no idea what had happened and after a few minutes spent in trying to get going again, I called a towing service and asked to be taken to the nearest Mercedes dealer. As it turned out the nearest dealer was in Riverside, California, a distance of 160 miles. I had State Farm Insurance and was told that since I had unlimited towing mileage they would pay for the tow. By the time we got hooked up, it was getting late and I knew the dealer would be closed and since the next day was Thanksgiving they would be closed then too. I called the dealer and made arrangements to drop the car off and they would work on it Friday morning.

The tow truck driver dropped the Mercedes at the dealer then took us to a nearby motel. We then went to a small restaurant next door. I then called my brother and said we were broken down and not to expect us for the weekend..

We spent most of the next day resting up in the motel. Mom was happy, as she didnít like riding in a car anyway. We soon found out that most of the nearby restaurants were closed for Thanksgiving, but I did find one about 6 or 8 blocks away that offered a complete Thanksgiving dinner including free champagne. We hadnít eaten much during the day so we really packed it away. I had never seen Mom put so much food in that little 80 lb body. Of course, the first thing they brought out were plastic champagne glasses filled to the brim. Mom wasnít sure what it was and when she took a sip, she said that it tasted pretty good. I then told her that it was alcohol and it came with the meal. Mom seemed to be surprised that it tasted so good and even though she frowned on drinking any alcohol, she would drink it since it was free and anything free couldnít be all that bad. During our meal, the waitress kept coming around and filling our glasses. By the time we finished our meal and pumpkin pie, Mom was getting a bit giddy and it dawned on me that we may be in trouble walking all those blocks back to the motel. She was a little wobbly but the last thing she said before we left the table was that she wanted to take her cute little champagne glass as a memento.

After I had paid the bill, we got up, went outside and started back. Mom could hardly stand so I took one arm and Roz took the other. We started down the sidewalk for that long hike back. All went well until we came to the crosswalk. At the curb, on cue, we both lifted her up and proceeded across the street. I looked down and Momís feet hadnít touched the ground. She just kept peddling in mid air and giggling all the way. Mom kept this up at each intersection for the next block or so. I donít think she even touched the sidewalk the last block to the motel. When we got her into the motel she was feeling no pain so we just laid her on the bed, coat and all. Mom fell asleep right away so we just put a blanket over her and she slept all night. The next morning Mom woke up and said she felt great and really enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal the night before. I thought she might have a hangover but she seemed OK.

I got up early and walked to the Mercedes dealer. They had found the problem with my car and had it fixed by the time I got there. Apparently, I had picked up some crud from the bottom of that diesel tank and it clogged the fuel filter on the car. I probably could have found the problem but it was a special filter and I didnít have a spare. This was a situation that I soon remedied and always kept a new one in the trunk.

I drove back to the motel to pick up Roz and my boozing mom. Since most of the weekend was shot, we decided to head back home. All in all, it was a great weekend and provided many memories. The Mercedes was fixed; I had learned a lesson and Mom had a plastic champagne glass to keep as a memento. Whenever we mentioned that Thanksgiving weekend to Mom, she would just smile and look at her souvenir champagne glass.

I am sure, Mom made it through the Pearly Gates with a logical explanation. Taking Thanksgiving communion would be a good excuse.