There were six of us toasting Franklin D.Roosevelt, the Congress of 1933, and all of the early 1930s major and bit players who brought about the Repeal of Prohibition in the United States of America. It was the 79th anniversary of that epochal event — just six days ago — but only two of us six had been alive on that December 5 so long ago.
We were from Fort Riley and Tijeras, Wichita and Albuquerque, and from rural Indiana, together on soothing seas between Montega Bay and Georgetown, away from our I-phones, I-pads, lap tops, and other devices and so we were free to despair about what life was like when in America it was “illegal to manufacture, transport, or sell intoxicating liquor,” and we were free to rejoice that today we can enjoy wine and strong drink manufactured in and transported from just about any place in the world.
On tables all around us, the beverage of choice was rum, not the “Demon Rum” of the perfect storm of passionate ideologues which coalesced in the early twentieth century to create bath tub gin, rum runners, and gang warfare but the civilized rum of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean states.
From Man’s beginnings, fruit, vegetables, and grains have been fermented and distilled generally for the greater good. There may not have been wine in the Garden of Eden (unless that apple causing Adam’s fall contained a drop or two of Calvados), but we do know that by the time marriages were sanctified in Cana, wine was a necessary presence.
So for imbibers all around America, December 5 has become a very special holiday, a time for “Lest We Forget” conversations and for recognizing that it’s possible to repudiate bad Constitutional Amendments by replacing them with better ones.