Selection from Pyramids of Thrush Creek

 

          She snuggled up beside him, shoulder to biceps, and asked, “Would you like to go along for a drink to celebrate my first year of teaching?”

            “Well, actually,” he paused, enjoying her closeness and the smell of her perfume, “I don’t drink.  But I could go for a cappuccino or a root-beer float or whatever.”

            “I’m sorry.  I didn’t know you don’t drink.”

            “I did enough of that in college—getting sick, barfing my guts out, then getting up the next morning with a hangover and trying to make sense of everything.  I don’t need to do that anymore.”

            “Oh.  You can’t take just one drink and stop?”

            “No, that’s not what I meant.  I can drink responsibly if I want to.”  Roger chuckled.  He wasn’t sure that was actually true.  “But why do I have to drink at all?  Just because somebody decided that’s the socially acceptable thing to do, now I’m expected to do it?  That’s a bunch of bull crap.”

            “I’m not trying to make you drink.”  She seemed to accept his candor and his independent spirit.  “I just thought you might want to go out and celebrate.”

            “Well, here’s my real concern,” Roger turned, his eyes met hers.  “In just a few years these fourth graders are going to start thinking they’re grown-ups.  They’ll want to start doing the things grown-ups do.  It’s hard to convince teenagers that something is okay for adults, but not for them.  The things we do are so much more important than what we say.”

            “That’s very noble of you.  I guess I never thought of it that way before.”

            “Kathy, you go to church, don’t you?  What do they say about booze?”

            “Well, I guess they’d say it’s bad.  But I don’t think I’ve ever heard them actually say that.”

            “I wonder why that is,” Roger mused.  “It seems that in the past a lot of churches held a legalistic view on alcohol.  Now, I guess they realized that view wasn’t Biblical.  So now they don’t want to talk about it at all.  There are a lot of good reasons to stay away from alcohol, even though the Bible condones drinking.”

            “I thought you don’t go to church.”

            “I don’t.”

            Kathy hesitated, fumbling with the edge of her sweater.  “Well, root-beer floats would be fine.  It’s been years since I’ve had one of those.  I’ll feel like I’m fourteen again.”