Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So this Drunk Walks into a Bar...

Hah! With a title like that, I bet you can't wait to see what follows!

Those who know me well, know that I don't drink alcohol. At all. I have a number of what I think are great reasons and I might enumerate them here before I get finished. At the same time, though, I think that is one of those areas that is best left between a person's conscience and God. So, I'm not going to beer bash.

All that to say - yesterday, for the first time in my life, I bought alcohol. Not only did I buy alcohol, but I got the hard stuff - vodka.

Before you start inviting me to keggers, I'll explain: it's for a recipe. Now, I don't normally even buy cooking wines - never have. I just substitute beef broth or don't make that recipe. But I ran across a recipe for homemade vanilla on my favorite organic website. Apparently, all you have to do is buy some vanilla beans, stuff them in a bottle of vodka, and stick it in a dark place for 2 months. After that - voila! - vanilla! I mentioned that to Paul and he was really intrigued. For some reason, he's got an interest in vanilla. All our married life he has urged me to buy "real" vanilla. Yes, well, "real" vanilla is about 3 times the price of the imitation stuff, so I have generally resisted. Once, he had someone pick us up a few bottles on a trip to Mexico and that lasted quite a while. Of course, I have since found out that a lot of Mexican vanilla isn't truly vanilla at all. They often use something called "Tommy" beans, which, are potentially fatal to humans. Nice to know!

So, it's an experiment, of sorts. If the recipe turns out, then I'll have enough vanilla to last me for a long time. If it doesn't turn out, well, I'll be dumping some brown vodka down the sink. The boys think this is all quite hilarious. I commented to Will that I sure hoped the rapture didn't happen while that stuff is in the house - otherwise, what might people think? He wisely said, "Well, Mom, if the raptures happens, I don't think you need to be worried about anyone finding your vodka and being concerned about it." True enough. But we could die in a car accident, they could be cleaning out our house and then they'd find it and suddenly have an answer for all their wonderings about me.

I was planning to buy it Monday while grocery shopping. Then, I suddenly realized that I didn't have my driver's license, which they would surely demand to see. It was sitting at home in the copier. So, I put it back and picked it up yesterday. I was pushing Sam in the cumbersome cart that Hy-Vee stocks, the one designed to look like a race car. Sam is crazy about those things. The thought went through my mind that that was going to look really bad - to be pushing my preschooler around while purchasing hard liquor. Oh well. So, I got the bottle, double checked to make sure my license was where I could grab it easily, and went through the check out.

And what a blow to my ego it was when the pimply-faced clerk simply rang me up, took the security cap off the bottle, and sent me on way. He didn't even ask for my ID! So now I truly know that there is no way on earth I can pass for under 21...

Part 2: Why I Don't Drink

Like I said, I have some good reasons for this decision. It's one I hope my boys will choose, too. But I also know there are many, many Christians who haven't made the same choice and I'm not going to point fingers. If we're open to God's leading, conviction can happen at different points in different lives.

1. I tasted wine once. I was 12 and it was in my grandma's fridge. I think I would rather eat my own vomit. I have never tasted anything so vile in my life before or since.

2. I worked in a grocery store during my UNI years. Sometimes, I'd have to take care of can returns. There's nothing like smelling old beer cans to permanently create a distaste for the very thought of beer.

3. I have read all 31 Proverbs many, many times. And one subject that is referred to repeatedly is the use of alcohol. I have to believe there is a reason for those warnings and so, it just seems best to refrain all together.

4. I have children and I don't want alcohol in the home because of that. I don't want them to experiment when I'm not around. Now, I understand that could potentially be a weak argument because we do have guns in the home and I don't worry about that since we've trained the boys about their danger. But I like it (the argument) so I'm going to keep it, anyway.

5. The biggest reason has to do with Christian testimony. You can defend drinking any way you want to, but ultimately, it's a bad testimony. Alcohol consumption, like a number of other practices, is something associated with worldliness. Sure, it may be something that falls within the boundaries of Christian liberty, but how close to the world do we really want to get? Should that be our aim, as Christ-followers? I don't think so.

Now, does all this preclude buying a bottle of vodka so I can have my own organic vanilla? Well, obviously not, since that's what I've done. I'll be curious to see if the results are worth all the angst it produced before and after the deed!

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