Monday, 12 September 2011

The lost pint

Regrets. I've had a few. (Loads, really. But that doesn't scan so well.) One came back when I was back in blighty. Sorting mum's photos with my siblings.

I've two brothers. I rarely see the elder, Eddie. He's much older, born in 1939. He drifted in and out of Sunday visity days of cake, pop and sixpence in your hand if you didn't cheek or puke.

I've always envied him.

Dave, a year and nine months* my senior, I know much better. My first time down the pub was with Dave. The Wing for Barnsley Bitter, I'd hope. More likely The Castle and Falcon or another of Newark's 30-odd Courage pubs. Where the beer was bright, but electric. Watch that diaphragm go. Go. go. Four pints and I was puking. Not cheeking. I'm polite, me.

Andrew, my eldest son has just turned fifteen. One more year and we can share a beer in the pub.

It was a tradition. 18th birthday, dad took you down the pub for your first pint. A working-class rite of passage. Entry to the adult world.

My father died when I was fourteen. I never had that first pint with dad.

The gallons I may have drunk before wouldn't have mattered. That first symbolic pint. I wish I'd had it. Eddie did. That's why I envy him.

For Andrew it may not mean much. But when, in August 2012, I drag him to a pub and make him drink a beer, I'll be thinking of my dad. The first Andrew Kempton.

* Younger brothers have this precision.


Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

Nice piece Ron, I recall my dad wanting to get me down the pub when I was 18 but it was rather forestalled by my parents’ bitter divorce, I recently wondered whether it was such a big thing — my lad has been going in pubs since the age of 3 weeks, though maybe buying the first pint will count (though as he is coming up to 13 I have several years yet)

DrJohn said...

Nice one Ron! I have had the pleasure of bringing my own son for a pint. And like you, I was denied the chance with my own father who died when I was 13.

Cooking Lager said...

When you ask the lad what he wants he'll say "Pint of lout, Dad"

Ron Pattinson said...

noes I drink vodka!


Tyson said...

I don't think it has the meaning it once did, but it's a great tradition, nonetheless. Sadly, the way things are going, every year there are less and less pubs to enjoy this ritual in.

Beerspitnight said...

Brilliant piece!