We are at a brew pub downtown. Everyone’s throwing local beers down their throats and the mood is through the roof. A man and woman ride by on bicycles, each of them dragging PBR cans on string behind them.
Mom, the ever-vigilant photographer, snaps a picture of them as they pull in to the parking lot, not even 20 feet from us. It’s a gorgeous photo, perfect lighting, the whole deal. Mom’s a pro.
“Why the cans? Were you two just married?” I ask.
“Yep, this morning.”
“You should get my mom to send you the picture she just took of you guys. It’s a good one.”
The newlyweds approach Mom, who is more than happy to email the picture to them. But the groom is staring at my mom’s foot. Her open-toed shoes reveal a scab on her toe, still in the middle of healing.
“How’d you get that?” he asks, pointing. “Masturbation accident?”
We have just finished a bicycle tour of five or six local breweries. We’re walking a lap or two around a lake to sober up. Given that some of us are laying facedown on the grass, it’s probably a good idea.
An older guy with matted hair and stained clothes, clearly homeless, approaches us.
“Anyone got a quarter? I’m trying to get a little closer to a beer.”
Dad’s ears perk up. He’s a beer enthusiast in every sense, with strong opinions on things like hops and alcohol gravity. The only bad beer is the one that circumstances prevent you from consuming. Also Budweiser.
“Tell you what, my friend,” Dad says. “Here’s a five. Go get yourself a freakin’ IPA on me.”
This stranger’s eyes are instantly alight. He tosses his head back to face the sky.
“Fuckin’ A, man!
We are crammed into my brother-in-law Ernie’s dinky little Subaru sedan. I’m comfortable in the front passenger seat, but it’s a completely different scene behind me. Elbows meet ears as Mom, Dad, and Hannah pretzel themselves together, eager to get back home and eat dinner.
Ernie looks away from the road to whisper to me.
“Give me a three-count and I’ll scare your mom.”
I’m intrigued and all too happy to oblige.
“Okay, in three, two, one…”
Ernie stomps on the brakes like he’s angry at them. I feel my dad’s body press into the back of the passenger’s seat. My mom lets a small shriek escape her throat. Hannah, who is married to this bastard, has seen it all before and is unfazed.