Bottle Openers

Something unexpected happened while on today’s walk…I found myself feeling good!  I couldn’t work up a worry or even entertain a blue thought.  I felt whole.  A nice feeling.

And this comes on a day when the state Department of Revenue informed me that I owe them money, or so they claim.  Those revenue guys are funny and it is always a good idea to open their correspondence with a sense of humor.

I am in a rotating file, I believe, every few years it is either the Department of Revenue or the Internal Revenue Service asking for more.  These notices seem to arrive at the final hour, too.  I’ll admit that I don’t always pay much attention to official-looking notices from the state, but I do get around to it eventually.  So I often wonder how I only seem to get these urgent last minute requests.

In this case, the state asserts that I had unclaimed income in 2008.  (Golly, I wish!  2008 was rather bleak.)  Their terse notice left no doubt that they were through fooling around with the likes of me.  I had ten days to pay up or I would end up in real trouble.

It isn’t a large bill — frankly it is among the smallest they have ever sent — but I better call and find out what is going on.  The real depressing part of all of this is the finding out what is going on part.  I’ll spend half of Monday on the phone pressing one and being transferred to hold.

Certainly that isn’t the reason for feeling good, but — tut, tut — it isn’t much of a bother now either.

Of course there is the small chance that I felt good this afternoon because I was still a little drunk.  My favorite little bar serves a new wine that is a lot like drinking Nyquil.  It is strong and clinging, it hangs down your throat for a moment or two before settling.

I believe I had five glasses of the stuff last night which would add up to just over a bottle.  I am comfortable with a bottle serving, by the way.  I was told once that the ministry in France that would declare such things set the 750 ml bottle size because represented a standard, everyday serving of wine with a meal for your everyday French adult.  Special events, however, justify — and even require — more.  There are many special occasions in my life and so I choose to life like a Frenchman.

Woodpecker Tree

But wow!  Maybe I should say Pow Wow…The new stuff at Amore Victoria has some pow-wow-power and it hits hard.  I complain about it and nobody listens, not even me.  I plan to head back there soon and, guess what, I’ll have a glass or two of that heavy wine.  (In truth I am craving pasta again.)  And, for what it is worth, I had a very nice time last night.

I should get back to my walk here.  Let’s see.  No wildlife to report.  I did hear something rolling in the woods, however, and saw a woodpecker.  I took a photo of the broken tree the bird pecked.  If you look closely you can sort of see the woodpecker, too, but I am using my camera phone (I really need a new camera) so I decided to get a picture of the tree and call it good.

Plenty of weddings in Lyndale Park, too.  I counted five, and none of them small.  In fact one young girl — and she was young and appeared to be a girl — seemed to have her entire high school class dressed up as attendants.  Other brides were much less ambitious, holding to more sensible numbers like 10 or 12.  Ten or 12?  Come on people!  I don’t even think I know ten or twelve people, at least not ten or twelve who would want to be in my wedding.

I didn’t get many pictures of the weddings unfortunately.  A single guy in straw fedora and sunglasses taking pictures makes people nervous.  I did ask two young women if they wouldn’t mind me taking a picture of them and their picnic.  They had the perfect picnic spot — a place I likely passed dozens of times and never noticed — so I wanted to get picture.

I didn’t linger long.  It was getting hot and I was getting thirsty.  Which brings me to the point of this post.  One of the best birthday gifts I have received in many years is a simple church key bottle opener.  (Engraved with my name on it.)

Since receiving this gift I have opened many bottles of Orange Crush and root beer.  It brings me back to childhood.  I think that’s why I like the gift so much.

One summer when I was a boy, my parents must have found some extra cash because we went from being a Kool Aid family to being a bottled pop family.  In South St. Paul we had a soda pop company called Viking Pop down on Concord at the very south end of town.  I remember the family station wagon always hauling crates in the summer…crates of peaches, berries, and Viking Pop.

You could mix and match as you liked.  I preferred blackberry and orange.  My brothers and sisters tended to like red pop and the super sickly sweet lemon lime Viking sold.  Mom always picked up creme soda, probably because she knew none of us would touch it.  Dad had the occasional Viking, but he was still a North Star Beer guy at heart.

Viking Pop was special, too, because it was the same pop they sold at Verrip’s Resort on Big Sandy Lake.  Back in those days my family’s big reunion was held each summer on Big Sandy.  Imagine the pride when I could point out to my cousins that Viking Pop was from South St. Paul and that in fact we could have Viking Pop pretty much anytime we wanted one at home.

My cousins seemed to shrug it off as no big deal, but I like to think they were impressed nonetheless.

I wonder whatever happened to Viking Pop.  Everything is controlled by large corporations these days, increasingly owned by upstarts overseas.  I imagine the rich variety of Viking Pop simply couldn’t compete with the simple bland plainness of multinational cola.  It is a shame.

Hell, you can’t find glass bottles with steel bottle caps anymore either!  But when I do, I use my simple church key, just like I did when I was a kid, and immediately I feel at home and I feel good.


One thought on “Bottle Openers

  1. Pingback: Writing Other Things « A Little Tour in Yellow

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