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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tell Me About the Scrumpy, Daddy

A repost from last year, while I prepare for my weekend writing retreat in Michigan with Wade Rouse.  :-)  Enjoy!

“Tell me about the scrumpy, Vin.”

Vin takes a smiling drag from his cigarette, squints at me through the exhale.  The night is warm and dark, and the party is at its peak.  “Scrumpy?  Who told you about the scrumpy, love?”

We grin at each other through the crowd that has gathered on Kathy’s deck. 

“I learned about it from you, Dad!  I learned about the scrumpy from you!”

“Ahh,” he says.  “So you did.”

“When was it?” I prompt.  “Remember?  You had just left one school and went west to another…”

Vin stands up, goes to the cooler where he pulls out a beer.  “Well, it had just been suggested to me – and rather forcefully, I might add – that I take my educational pursuits elsewhere.”

He returns to his seat, takes a short pull from his bottle.  “Naturally, I was compliant.”

The crowd on Kathy’s deck leans in. 

“So there I was, just a mate and myself, with time on my hands and naught to do but waste it.”

“Naturally,” I say, “you were compliant.”

Vin nods.  “Mmmm,” he says.  “Compliant.  Isn’t that a nice little word?”

The group on the deck, an inebriated collection of eight, maybe nine souls, ponders “compliance” and what Vinnie would look like in such a state.

We chuckle.

“Aw, leave off!” he says, laughing.  “I’m a right angel when I’ve a mind to!”

The laughter intensifies.

“So there I was,” he says, shouting over the crowd.  “There I was!  Going to school in the West, and a far cry it was from Aldershot!  But me and – what was his name?  Hmmm.  What was his name?  – we made due.  And by ‘made due’ I mean that we found ourselves at a little bar.”

He looks at me.  “You know how they make scrumpy, don’t you?”

I do know – he told me this story almost four years ago, initially, but I shake my head ‘no’.

“There’s this meat, see, on a hook, lowered down into apples.  The meat and apples work together like, fermenting.  Produces a cider.”

“Vin, you are pulling my leg.”

“On my honor, I am not.”  He takes a drink of his beer.  “It’s a matter of record.”

He takes another quick sip of his beer, lights a cigarette.  “So we’re drinking, aren't we?  Scrumpy, served up in rinsed out detergent bottles –“

“ – so you know it’s good, right there,” I interject.

“It’s a mark of distinction, iddin it?” he confirms.  “We’re drinking.  And drinking.  And we’re just not getting drunk.  So we get up, walk out of the place and up to a kebab shop.”

He pauses, recollecting the night in question.  “So there we are, kebabs wrapped in paper and pressed against our faces – rowr rowr rowr” – Vin imitates what would be labeled, in many circles, as “scarfing” – “when my legs go out from under me and I fall to the ground.”

He looks around the deck, the better to impress upon us the seriousness of the situation.  “I am entirely legless!”

The cry goes up “He’s legless!”  “Vin’s got no legs!” 

He shakes his head. “Dead from the waist down.  And so’s my mate.  There we are, laying on the ground.”

“Just laying on the ground?”

“Right there on the sidewalk,” he says.

“What’d you do?”

He shrugs.  “What could we do?” he says.  “We crawled along the sidewalk, pulling ourselves forward with our arms…”

He shakes his head, the memory warm. 

“It never got to me head,” he says, chuckling. “But me legs were dead drunk.”


vanilla said...

Writing conference? Michigan?
*envy* emanating

vanilla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joeh said...

A condition I am happy to report I have never experienced.

Leenie B said...

My dad told me about getting drunk on something in a jug when he was a kid. The stuff took his legs out and he and his cousin had to crawl to get home. Bet it was Scrumpy.

Eva Gallant said...

I must have missed this post the first time! Pricelessly funny!

Eva Gallant said...

I must have missed this post the first time! Pricelessly funny!

Shelly said...

This reminds me a something that happened at a party when I was in college...but probably best not told on the internet. I hope you have an amazing time at your retreat, Pearlie Girl~

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
...did this get better with the reposting, as it clearly did with the retelling??? I don't remember cackling last time. Fumes of scrumpy perhaps...

WHAT??!! Weekend AND writing AND nothing to distract??? Share it with us later wonchya. YAM xx

Anonymous said...

Lucky you going to a writers conference....you time...lovely. Just stay out of the scrumpy okay?

Pearl said...

I do believe my scrumpy-indulging days are over, although I have to admit to a curiosity over something that would take my legs out but not my brain...

Nah. I don't think they have scrumpy in Michigan, do they???

Wade Rouse Writing Retreat. Look it up! Lovely man.

jenny_o said...

Wonder what the hangover is like on scumpy, if it leaves your head alone. Do you get a pounding leg-ache? Queasy knees? Dehydration of the toes?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend at the retreat!

jenny_o said...

And by scumpy I meant scrumpy, duh

Daisy said...

Scrumpy sounds like powerful stuff!

Geo. said...

You can drink Scrumpy? Directions on the bottle say to pour some in a saucer by an open window and make no important decisions for a week.

sage said...

Wave as you pass through Michigan!

Chicken said...

Does Scrumpy have anything to do wiith scrapple? Like maybe the cider is the scrumpy but the meat becomes scrapple? Scrumpy and Scrapple. Wait, is that a cartoon on Nickelodeon?

savannah said...

“It never got to me head,” he says, chuckling. “But me legs were dead drunk.”

Sweet Mary Sunshine, but that has to be the best line ever! LOL

Have a FANTASTIC weekend, sugar! xoxox

Linda O'Connell said...

Was Vin ever in our town drinking Scrumpy? I saw a guy belly crawling out of a bar once.
Enjoy your conference.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Great story. And I can only assume that you are teaching at the writing retreat.

Rosemarie Blackthorn said...

Hope you had an awesome weekend!

Scrumpy is drink of the devil!

(but it's soooo good)