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April 01, 2008

Your Mom's Kegger

Your Mom's Kegger

By Sarah

My soccer mom friend, Sara, was perusing the chips in the chips and soda aisle of the old Grand Union Jail when Kendall, our local character, turned the corner and stopped still. From the end of the aisle in a voice loud enough to be heard across the whole store, he shouted, "Hey! Aren't you supposed to be in jail?"

This was funny like when you're fat and someone asks when you're due is funny. Because as it so happened, Sara, who used to run a daycare, who devotedly produced the school plays at our elementary school, who took hip hop dance classes with her son and who regularly carpooled kids in her VW Passat, had, in fact, recently been taken to jail - wearing her P.J.s no less - for supplying booze to minors.

I know. Who among us hasn't done that?

Why just last week,The New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov exposed himself to similar scrutiny when he posed the fancypants question, Is it okay to allow teenagers a sip of Pouilly-Fume at the family  dinner table? His conclusion had been sure, why not? That was until he went to a high school alcohol awareness meeting for parents (his first mistake) where the answer was no, no, no. And not in Amy_2 a party Amy Winehouse way, either.

That story cracked me up, not only because of the lengths Asimov went to justify allowing teenagers "a taste" to educate them about fine wines or because the hundreds of comments the story generated all began, "When I was growing up in Belgium....", but because of the total absurdity of it all. Look, Asimov may be teaching his offspring woody bouquets of cherry and oak, but when Asimov Jr. is at his buddy Justin's house, all he's going to be interested in is "will this Bud get me laid"?

Alcohol is one of those scary things parents of teenagers wrestle with on a daily basis and, so far, I've found no rhyme or rule to what works. I have friends who are teetotalers (though they're not, of course, good friends) whose kids drink. I have friends who refuse to have any booze in the house and who will concoct elaborate plans to get drunk, wasted really, at hotels, etc., so their kids don't know. Their kids still drink. And then there are parents like us who drink wine and beer at home right out in the open and whose teenage daughter - as of this week - has had a few glasses in her time but who - as of this week - shows no inclination to go out and get blotto.

And for that I credit her nerdy, do-gooder, bookish friends. Bottom line is we lucked out. Charlie and I can take no applause for this one. Hell, if anything we've been the bad influences.

Pink_floyd_the_wall Then again, my parents knocked back vodka tonics every night and I didn't drink in high school either. Partly, that was because I grew up in Bethlehem, PA, (help me out here, Josh) where the idea of sitting in someone's dark basement listening to Pink Floyd and morosely downing Yuengling was about as appealing as watching the flowers wilt at the local funeral home.

But once I got to college (Tufts - then $18,000 a year) and found these great places called fraternities where sickening sweet grain alcohol punch came in garbage cans for FREE? Man, you couldn't keep me away. When I was drunk and guys were drunk they came onto me. Alcohol was a magic potion - erased all those teenage insecurities and made me the hit of the party. I was pretty! I was popular! FInally, I'd found the answer!

This is what I fear for Anna. And also, maybe, for Eric Asimov's kids.

The thing is, I come from a long line of drunks. Some were happy, like my twinkly English maternal grandfather who founded a country club and brought hail fellows back home to pound out rousing tunesLithuanians_2  on the piano, and some were Lithuanian, which is to say, as cheerful as a gray Baltic sky. Like my Lithuanian paternal grandfather who got drunk and hanged himself from the rafters of his shack in the coal mines. It's right there in the genes, ripe for the picking.

So, with all due respect to the wine snobs of Belgium who are proud to say they're not alcoholics because they were allowed sips of Bordeaux while noshing on teething biscuits, my suspicion is they can thank their DNA. Another bullet dodged.

As for Sara, she got in trouble because she decided to host an after-prom party at her house, took all the keys from the kids if they were drinking, and made them sleep over. The cops got wind of this and let the party proceed nonetheless.

While waiting for the search warrant, they parked at the bottom of Sara's driveway and pulled over the kids who were leaving. Turned out, none of the kids who'd left had been drinking, though they were still hauled down to the station for questioning and such. You know, to teach them a lesson about the dangers of designated driving. The kids who'd been drinking were inside along with Sara who'd been asleep. They were busted, too, of course. And Sara's Breathalyzer results were published in the local paper.

Haven't figured out what lesson the cops were trying to teach there. But one lesson I learned is if your kid's going to host a kegger, don't invite her friend who's the daughter of the local police chief.

Talk about an April Fool....



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Oooh. April Fool's? So anything I say can't be held against me?

My crowd didn't drink much, either, and were more into show tunes than Pink Floyd (except...I just listened to Aqualung Sunday while I was paying my local and PA taxes--first record I ever bought). But by senior year, we were belching more smoke than the Minsi Trail Bridge.

My son, for some odd reason, has no inclination to drink at all, and dope is completely immoral to him. Those shotguns with Violet really bother him. Maybe if he and his girlfriend were, you know, doing it after two years, which they aren't.

That's another thing: sex with another person. Neither Sarah nor I was doing that in high school, either, even though when I went through the yearbook with her and another friend a few years back, they painted every other girl as a "slut." I wondered where all these drunken sluts were when I was out walking on the railroad tracks, passing around the doob. Must've gone to Northeast.

I confess, on the New England cruise, when my niece was only 14, Aunt Mary ordered the fruit salad the waiter wouldn't give her because it had wine in it (he'd tried to give her something very like canned fruit cocktail ala school cafeteria instead). Of course, we all knew it was for her (and my friend, who already had hers, assured me it was only a taste).
Actually, at a food fair once, I shared my zabaglione with itty bitty niece and nephew before I tasted it myself and remembered that wine was a main ingredient. They took good naps. . .
I guess I need to join your friend in the hoosegow.

Seriously though, drinking parties for teens are definitely dangerous. Condoning teen drinking does not make sense, and even if they seem safe at one's own home, there are still so many risks, including alcohol posinoning.

Yeah, that last word would be poisoning . . .
I'm only up this early because of insomnia -- the rest of the day should be even more blurry if I don't catch a bit of a nap.

It just occurred to me -- if the police knew this party was going on and waited so long to step in, aren't they accessories in some way?? Just a thought.

I think your local police department needs more to do, Sarah.

Great blog! I'll be back again later.

OK, back from drop-off.

Sarah, I think you've identified the three key things that influence how kids drink: genetics, parents, and of course the all-important one -- peers! We grew up in such a looser era. My parents barely touched the stuff, but I was drinking in bars at 16. Nobody carded. Luckily I was in a peer group that had some limits. We weren't binge drinkers, and we didn't slut around either.

As for educating the kiddies, I'm with Eric Asimov. We drink wine with dinner most nights, and when my kids have asked what it tastes like, I've offered them a sip. That's very different from hosting a kegger for teenagers in my book, and it's also different from parents getting trashed on vodka tonics every night. Alcohol is one of life's great pleasures. If I'm having a nice meal, a glass of good Cabernet is more essential than a chocolate dessert in my book. I want my kids to grow up with both a sense of appreciation and some limits. If we don't model appropriate drinking at home, how will they ever resist peer pressure to binge drink?

My, how times have changed. In my youth, we waited for the parents to *leave* before the booze came in. Or, we just filched it from the family liquor cabinet and drank outside.

I think genetics plays a huge part in pre-disposition to addiction, but beyond that, who the hell knows. How do you explain siblings - same genes, same environment. I am one of five, and only one of us has alcoholic tendencies - she, thank heaven, has stopped drinking all together. Another sib does not drink at all, and they really don't have alcohol in the house. The rest of us drink socially, although, at least for my sister and I - the older we get, the less we drink. One just does not bounce back.

We've always had booze in the house - we have friends over a lot, and many of them drink. Some of them sometimes drink too much. As our kids get older, they notice more.

We've been talking with them about it. So far, so good. They think people who get drunk act like assholes. "They think they're funny, and they're not. Why is that?" Excellent question, kids. So we talk about how substance abuse can be harmful, and all the other stuff we're supposed to talk about.

I've always had a zero tolerance policy about drinking and driving. I don't even drive if I've had a single drink, and the kids know it.

Still, our kids are getting to an age where we need to pay closer attention. Good blog, Sarah!

So my parents could have ended up in the slammer way back in the day because we got to go to the neighborhood tavern with them every other week or so? Hmmm. Frankly, my sister and I were bored silly, but the owner and his wife were family friends. We watched a lot of wrestling & drank Orange Crush. Our vacations were to a lake in Wisconsin just a mile from a small town. Family friends owned the bar there too. My sister and I got to walk around the trading post, play air hockey, chow down on shaved ham sandwiches and fries...and drink Orange Crush. Alcohol was for adults. Period. We did occasionally get a teaspoon of Mogen David in a tall glass of Seven-Up although that could have been medicinal, or at Christmas. It was never a big deal. Smoking was. THAT was the cool thing in my day. I'm not a drinker even today unless you count a glass of wine once in a while, or a Bailey's after dinner out. And, call me odd but I could never understand why anyone would want to waste an entire day getting over the night before.

I think all this just shows how screwed up as a society we are about alcohol. (There's an unoriginal observation.) There's a huge difference between wine with dinner and getting blotto on Everclear. But I'm with Kathy - one glass and I won't drive, not only because of the law, but because if someone happened to step in the path of my car on my way home, I would be tortured by the question - would I have reacted quicker had I not had that one glass?

One tradition I truly do despise, however, is the cocktail hour. That has to be a holdover from growing up with my parents and my father who insisted on one every night. Mostly, it was boring and to this day I get the chills when he visits and expects it. Yuck.

I drank more in high school than I do now. Every Friday night, my friend Claire's mother went to bingo so we all went to her house. Nothing wild, though, we just sat around and listened to Madman Across the Water.

My oldest son didn't drink until he was in college. Fifty cent drafts on Thursday nights was just too good to pass up. My younger son doesn't drink at all. He says he'd rather watch everyone else make asses of themselves.

This one is exactly like giving sugar to the kids, in my book. Whether you give your kids sugar or withhold it, they're going to find sugar and eat themselves sick if they're inclined to, the first time they have a sleepover somewhere. In fact, the Sugarholic gene is probably the same as the Alcoholic gene. At least, I've got them both. And I think my son probably does too, as "sugar" and "candy" were his two first words and he's an adventurer -- loves to steal sips of my very strong black coffee.

My mom was completely restrained and sane about alcohol and I ended up an alcoholic. On the other hand, in my worst years, I clung to the knowledge that my mom lived a perfectly happy life, relatively alcohol-free. I didn't know how she did it, but I knew it was theoretically possible. I don't believe anything she could've done would've changed my destiny with booze, but I can tell you that her example helped a lot in my early days of sobriety.

Wow, I'm so impressed that everyone here (me being the exception, I will confess) have kids who don't drink, don't do drugs and are not having sex! Are you sure you guys are living in America, because what are the odds?

Thank you, Ramona. I feel much better. I was beginning to think I was the only one who had kids who did all those things.

My kids are still young, Ramona, and believe me, my daughter would have sex if she could. Somehow she's given off the do-not-touch vibe and boys circulate, but don't approach. It's hard getting over that kind of rep once you're a junior in high school. Guess she'll have to wait for college to become a slut.

As for Sam - he's in sixth grade and "interested." He's the one I have to watch out for.

BTW - Why is it that guys in a class will focus all their attention on certain girls? In Anna's case, she's been left out of the loop. (See nerdy, bookish above.) And she hates it. In Sam's case, he and his buddies are completely ignoring some girls I think are wonderful.

Like I hummed to Anna this morning, "I learned the truth at 17, that love was meant for beauty queens and high school girls with clear skin smiles who married young and then retired...." I could sing that song in my sleep.

You're welcome, JodiL. Just fulfilling my duties as president of the Crappy Moms Club.

Right, Ramona. As if....

Sarah, I didn't mean to hijack or buzz kill the commentary, it's just that the world is a different place when you don't have brag worthy kids. Believe me, it's envy talking more than anything else.

As far as as if, I've met your daughter. The boys up there must have left their hormones at the state line if they're not following her in packs.

You'd think so, right? But no. And when you're in high school this kind of shit matters so much. Honestly, how many more times can I tell her that it'll all work out, that her life should not peak in high school?

Last night, as I took her home from play practice where she learned the guy she likes is mad for the girl EVERY GUY likes - a girl who's also charming, pretty, talented and got 2100 on her SATs first time out of the box - I resorted to one of my mother's lines. I actually told her that some girls are to marry, some to date.

Where did that come from?

Uh-oh, Mary--insomniac here, too. This is getting weirder.

My dad was an alcoholic, and I grew up watching him down a quart of beer every night, and my mother trying to drag him out of "beer joints" to come home for dinner. Of the four of us, one of my brothers ended up alcoholic, and that ended in his death, just as it did for my dad. Seeing Dad's desperation (and watching him in the throes of DTs in the hospital just before he died) was enough to keep me from ever getting that deep into drinking. I did, and do, have an occasional drink, but I tried very hard to model moderation for my children.

They all drink, especially my oldest, who I think drinks too much, along with her husband. But they have all been told of their grandfather (who died when I was in high school, so they never knew him), and they know there's a family gene for the disease, on both sides of the family, actually. And the two younger ones, at least, know I am absolutely paranoid about drinking and driving, and it's spilled over to them. My youngest has spent a lot of time in countries where it was legal for her to drink while still a teenager, so she is probably the one who has had the most experience with finding her limits, oddly enough, and she's also the one I trust the most about that.

When my middle child was in high school, one friend's parents often served alcohol to the kids who came to their house. I always suspected this, but did not know for sure until long after they graduated from high school. What enraged me about it was that THEY got to decide when or if my daughter drank, and not me. That was not their job, and I still deeply resent their assumption that they knew better how to raise a child than I, or other parents did. I still can't speak to them when I see them at the grocery store, I'm that pissed. They told all the kids that they were never to tell their parents, and made them all stay there overnight, but that did not matter. It was not their choice, it was mine.

I grew up with parents that always had the cocktail hour and I think were usually pretty blitzed by the end of the evening (still). I don't know if their "very adult act" of drinking made it seem mature, but I did drank way too much in high school and took some real risks driving that I regret to this day. In the first week in college I put myself in what could have been a very bad situation. Fortunately the guy and his peers were "gentleman". I shudder to think if that was in the days of digital cameras and the internet. That took me off drinking for all of college. As an adult, I am not a big drinker, since I don't enjoy it enough during and after. Calorie-wise, give me the chocolate.

That said, we do let our young kids have sips. We do have wine at Shabbat dinner, in the context of a very special family event. The young one enthusiastically loves the stuff, the older one finds it gross. So I can see a strong genetic component. I would rather that it not be a taboo to be broken. I also think that if my daughters know the good stuff (micro brew, etc.) some guy is not going to be able to impress them with a 6 pack of Bud or an everclear punch. Like may things in life, I am hoping that they will get the message of quality not quantity.

My kids turned out okay (maybe because we de-mystified booze early by letting the girls have a glass of wine on holidays, but who knows?) but I was the other end of the spectrum. I think I was an alcoholic in my teens, and it took years to get myself cleaned up. My children never saw me during that time, thank heaven, but I was definitely on the Wrong Path. In small towns there's nothing to do but drive around drinking---(yes, Mogen David, Maryann!!)--which was way more fun than sitting in the basement with Phink Floyd, although I dimly remember quite of few of those nights, too.

I'm sorry your friend was busted, but talk about a painless way of spreading an important message. At least nobody died. One of my high school boyfriends, on the other had, was decapitated during a wreck of his MG covertible---a car I'd ridden in for years.

I'm not bragging about my kids. No drinking, sex, drugs? Where's the fun in that? I wish I were your kids, Ramona.

Sarah, your daughter seemed perfectly pleasant and attractive when I met her two years ago. I may have dirty old man in my genes (hey there's a story I haven't told!), but I have good taste. She'll survive and be fine. Just don't get too desperate. I think boys can sense that.

Yeah, that's what I told her last night. But, remember, Josh, no boy gave me the time of day in high school, either. I mooned the prom with Maureen Wellner (one of Temmy's friends). Not for nothing does the old Janis Ian song come quickly to mind.

Hey, my prom was about as good as yours. Dinner was a disaster when my date's long-time boyfriend and his new girlfriend showed up at the same restaurant we were at, and they were with the girl I had stalked, I mean liked, in high school and her goon boyfriend whom I had hated since 9th grade. My friend, with whom I was doubling, kicked me under the table when my date said she was going to Philadelphia Textile and my friend's date said, "What's textiles?" The prom was no more comfortable, and I think my date was home by 9:30. I spent the rest of the evening as I spent much of the rest of high school, sitting in folding lawn chairs on a porch in West Bethlehem, eating Gibbles chips, drinking Diet Pepsi, and probably smoking dope, although I don't have a memory of that, I can't say that I wasn't.

I've told you what your problem was in high school. Too much class.

Sounds like those cops were trying out their new Ultimate Authority underwear, or - ghod forbid - trying out for jobs with the City Attorney's Office. Overstepping is so much like goose-stepping, don't you think?

Sarah, I like your comment to your daughter on how life shouldn't peak in high school.

Ramona - my kids are young too. My daughter (who is NOTHING like me) shows no interest in dating or partying. She has boys who are friends, but no boyfriend - she rebuffs any one who shows any interest. As someone who was already *madly in love/let's get married* at 16, it's a whole new world for me - but I've seen it with my own eyes.

My son, on the other hand, who is in 7th grade, is the social one. The only reason I know he's not into anything yet is that his friends' parents have the same rules we do, and none of the boys go anywhere without an adult. It's a big deal for them to go to the movies 'by themselves' - which means some parent is sitting in the back of the theater, and not with the kids.

We are very lucky so far - and only one more year in his small school. Once they get to high school, it's a whole new ball game.

Oh, the alcohol woes! Like many, I was raised in an alcoholic household; my sisters and I have all variously struggled with chemical dependency. For a number of reasons, I skipped booze altogether until about halfway through college, then spent about a year figuring out that we did not get along very well. I'm lucky to be able to drink in moderation when I choose, which isn't very often (mostly because of the calories, honestly).

My daughter knows about this background and, at 25, is handling things pretty well. She did one huge "let's get drunk at someone's house" in high school (and had the guts to admit it to me, which I think was probably about the bravest thing she ever did), and I know she did a fair amount of drinking in college. But she's always been responsible and careful, which is all I can ask. She and her friends are, as far as I can tell, very serious about DD's and taxi's; she also knows that she can call for a ride any time, no questions asked.

Offspring having sex should be a blog topic all its own . . .

Ah, Mogen David...brings back memories. In an tall glass with lots of ice. In high school at the boyfriend's house, courtesy of his parents.

WTF is Mogen David?

The whole alcohol thing was a non-issue for me in high school. Started taking care of drunk people when I was 11 . . . Also dating and sex, non-issue as well, skinny, thick glasses, geeky, braces in grade 12, damn, that is the equivalent of a chastity belt. One date during all of high school and a pathetic one at that!

Got the braces off, worked out, got contacts and hit legal age (19 in BC). And got to turn down all kinds of guys who didn't remember me from high school.

Never did got overly interested in alcohol. A family reunion at 27 took care of that, alcoholics, morbidly obese or scary born-agains. Figured I would be the family black sheep, stop drinking and keep working out!

Sarah ~ having met Anna (even though it has been a few years), I can honestly say that she is lovely young woman who will come into her own when the time is right.

As for me, I grew up with (and currently live with) an alcoholic father. I remember him taking me to his company Christmas parties (after the divorce) and instead of bringing me a coke, he would have the bartender add rum. And then the tall glass of brandy for my birthday? UGH!

My biggest memory was the night he picked me up after ski club, drunk, and was all over the road. Scared the crap out of me. To this day, I will drink socially, but have a definite problem with people 'over' indulging.

My dad can kill a bottle of wine or straight booze in a matter of days. He is even such a lush, that he used my coconut rum in his cola, and then complained about the bad taste. I had to remind him that the booze wasn't for him, and that he could now replace what he ruined as he poured what he considered 'bad' alcohol down the drain.

Where as, even using the alcohol in my baking, I have bottles that are years old. And an assortment of wines that are currently collecting dust. :)

Ultimately, there are as many different ways of handling this issue as there are different people in the world. Besides, you can never go wrong with knowledge.

Having grown up in Manhattan, I got the impression that most of my friends' parents didn't worry much about them drinking because no one was driving.

I am also reminded of the incident of the school survey. Which might have been useful had the survey given to us kids been the same one given to the parents so that the results could be correlated properly. Also, the survey writers/givers clearly did not bother to find out anything about the school before writing the test and analyzing the results since they considered it a huge problem that a significant portion of the student body had first tried alcohol at age 13. The school was 80% Jewish. We'd all had our first taste of alcohol when we had a glass of Maneschevitz or Mogen David at the family seder. If anything, it probably put me off alcohol for high school. In fact, I didn't start drinking until 3d year of law school.

Debby, I know all about your using alcohol in your baking. I'm still hung over from that brownie or whatever it was, and that was, what, three weeks ago? But I don't drink. Nothing moral, nothing about alcoholics in the family or being one myself. Just plain medical reasons.

Sarah, Mogen David, or Mad Dog (also MD), is cheap, high alcohol, screw top, wine. Best drunk out of a paper bag on a bench in the park. Yuk.

Oh....After reading Cathy's comment, I thought it might have been the name of a rabbi.

Geesh - I didn't mean for the blog to be such a downer. Does EVERYONE have alcoholics in their families? Ay yi yi.

Alcoholism is such a problem, and I'm convinced that most families do have some sort of issue with it, at one time or another.

Not until I read a book on Adult Children of Alcoholics did I understand many things about myself. Why I kept choosing men who also had dependency issues, for instance, or why I stayed in jobs that were not good for me, or kept toxic friendships. My dad was also abusive, mostly verbally, and that had its own little legacy of pain.

These days my tendency towards addictive issues manifests in using the daggoned Internet too much. That's a whole 'nother ball of wax!

We have friends, fraternal twin adult men, one of whom is a heavy drinker and one a teetotaler. The difference in how they have aged is striking, and would be an effective deterrent to teenaged alcohol use if they could see it.

First off, I'm hijacking, because I want moral support. I spent the weekend at the University of Oklahoma where my baby sister is a sophomore for family weekend -- I was the only one who could go. At a Saturday brunch for her service sorority, one of her friends came up and uttered the most horrible sentence I've ever heard: "Oh Sara, is this your mom?" WHAT?!?!?!!!!!!! I was going into frigging second grade when Sara was born, there is no way in hell I look like I'm old enough to be her mother!!!! Right?!?! And when Sara said no, I was her older sister, did I get an abashed look and an apology? No. I got an oops and a giggle. OOPS!!! OOPS??? Listen sweetheart, when you're 26-going-on-27 and someone thinks you could be your 53-year-old mother you're going to want more than oops!!! I'll give you OOPS!!!
Okay, I'm done now. Back to the topic at hand. Sniffle. I'm one of those kids that never drank til I got to college, but that was mostly because none of my friends ever did and I was never offered it, so who knows, perhaps I could have been a high school drinker. As far as Sara's friend goes, if she was actually providing the alcohol (and it doesn't sound like she was) not cool. If she was simply making sure kids that had been drinking didn't do anything dumb afterward, like drive, then good for her. As others have said, if teens want alcohol they're going to get it. I don't know that saying "sure, you and your friends can drink here" is necessarily a good thing, but on the other hand, at least that way you can make sure - to an extent - how out-of-control it gets and, like Sara's friend, keep them from hurting themselves or others.

Katherine - forget that little shit who thought you were your sister's mom. Next time, ask her how many weeks until her baby is due.

Additional hijack:

Blond Bond named "best dressed" by GQ.


Sarah, Mogen David is a kosher wine that is sweet, inexpensive (read cheap)and made from the Concord grape and tastes kinda like grape juice or grape candy.

Thank you, Jodi, I knew I could trust you. Josh, shame on you. Mad Dog indeed.

I raise my hand as another Adult Child of an Alcoholic (and grandchild and sister). My parents had the ubiquitous cocktail hour before dinner. My mom would go to bridge club about two times a week where they would have dessert and drinks. My father never drank more than one glass...my mother might have had four before dinner. I didn't really relate it to drinking, but my mom would fall asleep at the table after picking at her food on the days of bridge club. After my dad died, she drank even more.

I drank in high school because the sister closest to me did. She got married at 17 and her husband's friends would hang out drinking at her house.

I got too drunk many times during and after college, but when I went to grad school, I decided to stop. By then we knew my sister was an alcoholic (in recovery), and I wanted my mental status to be sharp for school. It was expensive, and I didn't want to waste my money or time. Since then, I've not drunk very much at all. It gives me a headache.

My children were raised Episcopalian and had wine at communion from an early age. My daughter is legally an adult so can drink all she wants...but they always have a DD. My son is not legal yet, and I hope he doesn't drink yet, but I don't know for sure. There've been some times when I've wondered if he'd been drinking and I ask him, but I get a negative reply. I do know that he and a friend were invited to another person's house but didn't know that there was going to be drinking. When my son and his friend found out, they walked about a mile to a McD's and got a ride home with a neighbor kid who happened to be there. But my son did tell me, thank heavens. Cops busted the kids at the house my son left. Thank heavens he left when he did!

I don't think he'll smoke pot (he has asthma), but I did and my mom and dad apparently didn't know.

One thing I do know...my son is interested in attending certain colleges because they are "party schools" (info I got from my daughter) so he must have some inclination toward drinking. I also have continually told him to call me...no questions asked...if he finds himself in any drink/drug/strangeness situation. All I can do is hope he makes good choices, because I know the temptation is out there. Luckily his friends are good kids, but it only takes one time to get in trouble...

One word Sarah: Wikipedia. If it's on the Internet, it must be true.

Eeep, Becky. Falling asleep at the dinner table. Not good.

That must have been some bridge party, huh?

Sounds like everyone's doing what they can, the best they can. And that includes Ramona and Jodi.

Man, why did I ever sign up for this parenting thing?

As a slightly offtopic comment, I would like to let everybody know what a wonderful book Sarah has coming in June! I told Sarah that it should come with a warning label...


It was wonderful, even as the uncorrected proof. Now, I have to patiently wait for the HC to come out so that I can read it again with the accompanying recipes.

p.s. Sarah? I posted my review on B&N. But, darn that amazon...where is the review button? Thank you!!!!!

I didn't drink until college but I made up for lost time. There's probably still an outstanding APB for DUI out there for me! I was SO LUCKY not to have killed me or anyone else with drunk driving. Dumb Dumb Dumb.

Now, one beer or glass of wine or mixed drink and I'm done. I DO NOT drink and drive. Period.

We had a women here in Hot Springs who went to jail for hosting a Halloween party for her son and his friends. Yep, busted for providing alcohol to minors. I have a friend who always let the kids drink at her house the whole time her kids were in high school. Lucky for her, nothing happened, but she would not listen to anyone about the danger. Frankly, I think she was trying to be the "cool mom", which is my impression of most of these parents who sponsor alcohol related parties for minors.

Good answer to your daughter Sarah. You could not give me enough $$ to go back through high school years!

"I've told you what your problem was in high school. Too much class."
Josh, I think you are on-target with this. The very independent girls, who won't let themselves be taken advantage of, probably don't attract any boys who are (in my mother's terms) "out for what they can get." High school is not life, and too many high school relationships end in heartache. It's better (healthier) to be involved in good activities, have good friends, and (gasp!) even make good grades.

When I was growing up, cocktail hour in our house was my father making Martini's (mostly gin, of which to this day I cannot stand the smell) for both him and my mother, they'd drink before dinner and after dinner...right up until they passed out or went to bed whichever came first.

I have an alcoholic sister. She hides a box of cheap wine and will drink the whole thing by herself in less than two days. Worse thing, she thinks no one knows--everyone does. Try to talk to her about her problem and she's dat river in Egypt.

I will drink a glass or two of a nice wine with my neighbor when we're sitting outside enjoying a summer night. Once or twice a year I drink more than two glasses. If I'm driving I don't drink.

A case of Guinness bought around St. Patrick's day will last from one St. Patty's to right before the next and it's mostly used for cooking.

I partied in high school with the boy I married after graduation. (Probably partied not far from Josh and Sarah)

My husband seldom drinks and when he does he has only one.

Karen, another area of divergence. My father drank so little that one July his brother visited and finished off the last of a six-pack of beer Dad had bought at Christmas. I drink minimal amounts; one of the "sampler glasses" of beer at a micro-brewery is perfect for me, and I love it when restaurants offer a taste of wine, because that's all I want.
Of course, at age three I did have sips of Dad's beer while he watched TV at a neighbor's (see what happens when you drink too slowly?) and went home tipsy -- and was Mom ever mad! One of my great-nephews followed in that tradition as a toddler, eating all the Easter candy hidden (not well enough) in the refrigerator and following it up with half a beer -- and didn't even get sick!
I think the tastes of wine provided by parents to their own children are legal, but alcohol given to other people's children, not!

Peg, what do you cook with Guiness?

Mary, it's great for pot roasts, both beef and pork. Although when I want a lighter flavor I borrow or trade for a regular beer from my neighbor. It also makes a wonderful base for my smokin' hot BBQ sauce and a splash of it in my chili recipe adds wonderful flavor.

Mmmmm, Peg, I think I want to eat at YOUR house!

Sarah, tell Anna what I told my daughter when she was in college (very small town...very small college, Northwest MO State Univ-Maryville, MO) and no one asked her out. There is someone special out there for everyone...it just takes time. You don't want to settle on anyone. Just keep your options open and, unless your inner radar goes off, never turn down a date. You never know who will be a diamond in the rough.

Dear Hubby & I have always had alcohol in the house. We were given Maneschevitz at the age of 13 for communion. It was a tradition that when a grandchild turned 21, they got to give Grandma her gallon jug of Mogan David for Christmas (She drank a small juice glass every evening before bed and lived to 96). My parents let us try things at home and I actually have a picture of my younger sister, at the age of 18 months, tipping an almost empty beer can to drink the dregs. None of us have an alcohol problem...it may not be in our genes. Dear Hubby's parents, on the other hand, preached & preached about the evils of drink, he went out with the preacher's son and got drunk every weekend on Annie Green Springs.

I didn't drink much in high school. Every once in a while my girlfriends and i would score a fifth of apricot brandy and mix it with 7UP. Boy, was it good, but so weak that we couldn't possibly be drunk. One girl would always be the sober one...even in the early 70s my dad would preach about drinking and driving. Not that we always listened.

Peg...I want that bbq sauce recipe!

Peg H, you're really lucky to still be with your high school sweetheart. All of my close friends in high school, plus both my sisters and two cousins, are divorced from the first people they married. Many had dated their ex in high school. Some, like my older sister, married because it was expected and not because they were in love. Most have remarried...to men who are kind, caring, responsible adults.

Sarah, another one of those hard things about parenting is wanting to fix your children aches and pains (emotional and physical). Sometimes I wish I could just hug my kids and make all their hurt just disappear. But from what you've shared with us, you seem to be doing and saying the right things. So good luck. We'll be rooting for you (and Anna, of course).

BTW, I just love that Janis Ian song. It's one of the first one's I downloaded to my iPod.

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