It took a seismic shift for me to visit Jack’s house. As a therapist I have observed firsthand the chaos and life crushing effect a drunken parent has on children. I know a man I considered to be a giant in his profession, tall, elegant, an orator to beat all orators. He was an attorney. I rejoiced when he represented my client and I trembled when he represented the other side. He was reputed to have single handedly elevated the practice of law in his county. Alcohol abuse laid the ax to the base of his life. It fell, spectacularly, publicly and crushed his wife, children and any others close enough to be dragged to their knees by its all clawing branches. He is one of many. I grieve for them.
I have heard all the lectures about the joys of moderate consumption. I respect those who partake with moderation. I just do not choose to use it other than to cook with alcohol on occasion.
So Jack’s house is not where you would expect to find me. It was built on whiskey. I have never tasted whiskey. I do not know a bourbon from a sherry. People my age are expected to know such things. I smile my way through such conversations.
I had been to a seminar (that is another blog) and was riding with a friend. Husband and I take detours on road trips. A sign catches our eye. We veer off the freeway and follow whimsy. We have had some of our best adventures that way. The friend did not do such things. She thinks I am boring because I do not snack, I think not following signs is more boring than not snacking.
We see the sign to Jack’s house, she allows me to talk her into visiting him. Little did I know the distance between the sign and his house was 20 miles. We go anyway.
Everything was free, the tour, the jokes, the lemonade at the end of the tour. I have to admit it was fascinating. The barrels are ‘raised’ by coopers (not built) no nails, no glue, nothing that will contaminate the contents. Tension, gravity and metal bands hold them together. All the barrels are ‘toasted’ and fired, all are made from the same select timber. High on a hill is a warehouse. It is stuffed to the rafters with barrels of whiskey. The lower floors are more protected from the changes in temperature; the top floor suffers ultimate exposure. The range in temperature forces the booze into the wood, there it lassoes the flavor and color and comes out again. All of the whiskey is in the same barrels and has access to the same potential. The protected barrels do not give up their color and flavor to the whiskey. It takes exposure to the extremes of heat and cold to force the whiskey to move into the wood.
The lesson there, a sheltered life does not force the occupant to move and flow and develop into the most expensive, the most flavorful of elixirs - for others. That’ll preach.
Oh yeah, Jack’s other name? Daniels.