Faith, Frogs, Whiskey, Dance, and Travel

Posted: September 24, 2011 in Uncategorized
Originally posted 4/19/11
My friend likes (loves?) old single malt scotch whiskey.  He has commented in my presence about how he likes it smokey and peaty.  (wow, I just typed the word “peaty” and my spell checker had no reaction, is this really a word?) Anyway, I understand smokey, some sauces and cheeses taste smokey and it is a pleasant flavor.  But peaty? Peat is just dirt with lots of organic material mixed in.  They dig it out of the ground and filter the scotch through it.  Go figure.  The smokey flavor apparently comes from the charred insides of the oak barrels used to age the scotch.  The longer it ages, the more of the charred oak flavor it takes on.
I found it interesting that the barrels used to age scotch are barrels that were used in Kentucky to age bourbon whiskey.  These barrels are built from seasoned oak and charred on the inside. When the Kentucky whiskey is aged for the prescribed time the whiskey is removed and the barrel is sold to whiskey makers in Scotland.  It is my understanding that only barrels used to age Kentucky bourbon are acceptable for this purpose.
I guess it is the single malt aspect, which means it was made from malted barley and distilled at a single distillery, not blended with other whiskeys, and the age that determines how good and how expensive it is.  You can pay seventy or eighty dollars for an average bottle of 18 year old single malt scotch.  So you can see why you probably will only have it if it is a gift or if you buy it for a special occasion.  Consequently, when you do luck onto a bottle, you savor it and make it last.
So at Christmas I gave my friend a bottle of good scotch.
Not counting politics, Kentucky is a pretty cool place.  Did you know that out of 120 counties in Kentucky, 86 of them are still under prohibition.  Did you also know that more that 95% of the bourbon whisky distilled in the US is done in Kentucky?
My friend is a drummer in a rock and roll band.  I’m actually using the phrase “rock and roll” rather loosely.  They play a variety of music in a variety of genres.  We were talking about music one day and he mentioned that music sometimes has a profound effect on him.  I think it drags up “River Teeth”.  River teeth are memories that stay with you when all other memories have faded away.  “River Teeth” is the title of a book by David James Duncan and a very interesting and enjoyable read.  I have always loved James Taylor’s version of the song  “In My Mind I’m Going To Carolina”.  It brings up memories of Carolina.   Both North and South Carolina are very unique and interesting places.  The coast of the these states is so different from the Oregon coast you would think they were totally different oceans, oh wait, they are.There are so many places right here in the good old USA that I have not seen, it will take the rest of my life and more to see it all.  As a young man, I once drove south from Louisville with a girl friend.  We wanted to see New Orleans, but ran out of money and gas just south of Jackson Mississippi.  We just found a well lighted parking lot and parked the car and stuck out our thumbs.  We made it to the Gulf Coast just east of New Orleans.  We just kept going east and traveled the coast line through Mississippi, Alabama, and a little way into Florida. Then we ran out of time and had to get back so we turned around and headed NW to get the car.  We were crazy, of course, but we did have the where-with-all to retain enough gas money to get us home.  The thing is we did not just see these places, we experienced them and met the people and waded in a swamp and slept on the earth, drank the local water and ate the local food.  We rode about 20 miles with a group of people in the back of a truck heading for their work place where they shucked oysters.  I doubt I will ever do that again, but it will never leave my memory.  It is one of my river teeth.
I like to dance, but only on a concrete floor.  I have this effect on wood, above grade, floors that is akin to striking a drum with a bunch of pennies lying on it.  The pennies represent all the people around me.  That may be a slight exaggeration, but that’s how I feel when I’m up there and all the other dancers are having trouble keeping their footing.  Or maybe they are drunk.

A short exercise in circular free association: Frogs, Jeremiah, Music, Gigs, Frog Leggs, Fried Foods, Cellulite, Fat, French Cooking, Snails, Slime, Frogs.

I have always had faith that God existed.  I’m not even sure faith is the right word.  I knew God existed, and when you know something to be a fact, faith is not necessary.  Growing up I was afraid of God.  As a young man I still knew that God existed but I did not like him very much.  He seemed very mean, even cruel and I wanted nothing to do with him.  Then in middle age I net a woman who introduced me to Jesus.  Not the Jesus from my Sunday School lessons but the real Jesus.  She told me that Jesus was sent to us to show us what God was really like.  She told me to forget about all the stuff I had heard about God and Jesus and just read about Jesus for myself.  I did that and discovered a God I liked.  A God that was loving and compassionate, not mean spirited and cruel.  So the God I thought existed was really a scary fiction.  Now I still know that God exists but he/she/they/it is/are a God I can trust with my eternal soul.

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