You Drink Vodka?!

May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial day, everyone. I have no moving story of military service of my own to tell, other than the fact that my father served in the air force between Korea and Vietnam. But a funny thing did happen to me earlier this morning.

“You drink vodka?!”

It was about 9:30 in the mornining. I’d wandered out to sit on my back steps with a cup of french-pressed coffee to enjoy the 70-degree weather. For reasons unknown, one of my upstairs neghbors was lighting his grill. He is a middle-aged man, thin, and foreign. I think he is from Russia. His English is not too great. After having dispensed with “hello” and “good morning” he was clapping me on the shoulder and asking me about my drinking habits. At 9:30 in the morning.

“Vodka? Yes, sir, I do.” I was thinking of the bottle of Chopin I have chilling in my freezer.

“Just a minute,” he said, and disappeared inside. When he reemerged, he was carrying a plate of yellow cheese with a brown rhind, two oversized shot glasses, and a bottle of Svedka.

Not knowing what else to do, I accepted. “Happy Memorial Day,” I said, and tossed back my shot.

We chatted about our respective carreers. (He works in a factory assembling giant radiators. He had worked as an engineer in Russia.) I tried to explain what it means to work in computers at a university. And we drank vodka.

I wished him a happy Memorial day, but he seemed uncertain, so I tried to explain.

“Adam, the fellow across the hall from me – he served the American military. He served in the army and fought in Iraq. But today, we honor dead soldiers. Adam will be in the parade later.” He seemed to understand.

“On February twenty thirty,” he said, “is for Russian soldiers.”

So I guess such holidays exist everywhere.

“To soldiers,” I said. And drained my third vodka.

To soldiers everywhere – especially American ones, who have fought for sound reasons and for unsound, who have pledged their courage and their skill to our elected government. Thank you.

No comments yet

  1. Nice.. Drinking at 9:30am!

    My plan.. Shower then heading out to Brat Fest!


  2. Amusing topic, considering that Verbatim has an blog entry regarding vodka as well.

    Hopefully you will be sober enough to drive over for the BBQ later? šŸ˜‰

  3. Yes, Karen and I have already compared notes on the vodka article. Rest assured that I’ll be sober enough to be upright at the party later! šŸ™‚

  4. You should play some chess with this guy. I bet he’s good.

  5. While I was living at Scott’s for a while last year I got to know the old man and his son a bit as we all smoke and it is a non-smoking building…big language problem…but yes, I would suspect he is quite adept at chess, he struck me as quite intelligent.

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