Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 19

#19 - "Always eat when you drink."
I really never drank until I turned 30 and moved to Austin. Yes, there were those couple of trips to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, a sleepy little border town relatively close to my hometown, where age wasn’t an issue in a bar. I remember Mary Wright and I drinking an aptly named Zombie at Ma Crosby’s Restaurant (or was it at the inaptly named Shangri-La Bar), going into the bathroom, taking off our bras, and waving them out the door at our amused, and no doubt hopeful boyfriends, and jaded wait staff. I guess we thought that was sexy – and was certainly the most “scandalous” thing my sexually immature mind could even conjure. But for the most part, I was a late blooming drinker, and although I’ve foolishly wished I could “drink the night away,” I’m a cheap drunk. Three glasses of wine or three beers and I am down for the count - literally. Click on Read More Below...

I think that mom taught me this one of one hundred things a million times because she knew there was a hardy genetic propensity in my family tree – a propensity for not being able to drink that is. We drink. We throw up - end of story. However, if I eat as I drink, I can prolong the inevitable – say, partying for three or four hours before the dash to the porcelain god, as opposed to one hour, followed by prolific barfing, followed immediately by a brain-splitting hangover.

My kids seem to have inherited the drinking/barfing gene too, and honestly I think it’s a blessing for the most part. It definitely shuts us down before the lampshade wearing, boss insulting, DWI-ing happens. I’m pretty much known as a party pooper, even at my own parties. When I disappear at 10 pm, my friends know where I am. I’m in bed, curled into the fetal position. I’ve taken four aspirins and am praying to keep them and everything else down.

Mom briefly explained that if you eat when you drink, the food absorbs and dilutes the effect of the alcohol. She also mentioned that eating while you drink also slows down the drinking. I think I saw my mom and dad drink a beer one time. I have no doubt that they probably drank socially “in their day,” so to speak, but it wasn’t glamorized in our house, and really wasn’t even there.

But I do remember as a little girl that there was something exciting going on - photos of happy groups toasting an occasion, the neon lights in the window of the one bar in our little community. On the other hand, the hell-fire and damnation preached on Sunday sort of canceled that out, creating a good bit of confusion on my part. Was it fun or hell? Come to find out it was both.

So mom was right, "Always eat when you drink.” It prolongs the party and helps keep you from becoming a complete idiot. Besides, there’s nothing worse than up chucking on an empty stomach.




  1. I love this picture of Mommy! What a party girl she was, although I think she preferred to do her partying in Nwa'leans! Jane

  2. Then you know more about that than me. What's this "Nwa'leans" deal?!! SueAnn

  3. SueAnn, thanks for having a good memory (I think). And who were the boyfriends? If I'm correct, we were supposed to be at a track meet, but that trip went south, way south. Gee, we're pretty darn tame in our old age, so it's fun to have these memories.

  4. I know that one of them was Herbie - when you or I were dating him. Not sure about the other guy. Do you remember? SueAnn

  5. I know that NwaLeans means New Orleans. What I'm curious about is what Jane might know about my mom and NwaLeans! SueAnn

  6. Was it fun or Hell? Come to find out it was both. I really like that sentence--sounds like something out of the movie Stand By Me which I love. I love your stories, but could you and Dee Dee put your heads together and remember who the other guy was--someone in high school with us or an older guy like Herbie??Linda Sue

  7. Okay, Linda Sue, I think I've got it! Herbie was my boyfriend at the time, well before he became SueAnn's boyfirend, husband, then ex-husband. The other one was "bad boy" Butch L., an exotic creature from parts unknown or unremembered, who was SueAnn's boyfriend at the time. By now, he's probably someone's ex-husband, too!! All of us laugh about dating in Iraan - the dating pool was so small that at times it seemed incestuous!!

  8. I think you're right Mary! Paul "Butch" Leffingwell from Pecos, TX - he was so, so cute, and although he had a reputation as a "bad-boy," mostly because he was a high school dropout and just passing thorough on a seismograph crew - in his core, he had a good soul. Ask me someday and I'll tell you the story. I'll never forget him.