I never got to share a beer with my dad down the pub. He died when I was 14. It's one of my greatest regrets. Maybe that's why I'm so keen on taking my own kids to the pub.
Mum and I shared plenty of pub time. From Montego Bay to Sydney. But I only ever saw her tipsy once - after drinking rum punch in Kingston. Tea was her drink of choice. Rum and black, on a special occasion.
Being the mother of a beer obsessive isn't easy. I should know. I dragged my poor mother around so many smoky pubs. She rarely grumbled, even though her asthma left her gasping for breath. "Ronald, don't you think you've had enough?" That was her catchphrase. "Just one more, mum, then we can go." That's what I want to say to her now: "Just one more, mum, before you go."
I didn't get that last beer with her. But I'll drink every beer now as if it were that one lost last beer with mum. This sip's for you, mum. I'll be thinking of you every time I lift a glass. And when my feet become unsteady, I'll hear your gently chiding voice: "Ronald, don't you think it's time to go?" And you'll be right, as you always were.
I don't believe in god. Or heaven. But if there's one person whe deserves heaven, it's my mum. I hope I'm wrong and she's sitting there now, smiling down at me. And saying "Ronald, ............"
Grapes / Grapes of Prestwich, Bury New Road - Grapes of Prestwich, Bury New Road, Prestwich, 1990. (c)deltrems at flickr. The Grapes is traced back to 1877 in David Rowlinson's book, when it was lease...
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