Lending an ear and a beer
the Big Easy by reaching out and making a buddy
It has been two weeks
since this column last appeared in the Hippo and, as always, the world
around us is constantly changing. Most prevalent in my mind are the
horrors of watching Mother Nature wreak havoc through the Gulf Coast. As
a former resident of the city of New Orleans it has been extremely hard
for me to watch and not feel like part of my heart is being ripped from
Sitting here writing I
have to hold back tears for all the good people of the Crescent City
(yes, I do mean good, despite all youíve seen and heard donít let the
bad seeds form your opinion about a community of warm and friendly
people) whoíve had to abandon their homes and lives. Yet, as I watch all
of this, itís hard for me not to think of beer.
I know what youíre
thinking: how can I talk of beer in relation to a grim situation like
this? All I can say is, itís what I do, itís who I am.
My first beergasm
(a.k.a. awakening of my senses) happened at The Alibi on Iberville
Street, N.O., in the form of an Ayinger Celebrator. The first pint of
Guinness that I was actually able to finish was at The Kerry, the Irish
pub on the ground floor of my first French Quarter apartment on Decatur.
Lest I forget, though sometimes I wish I could, my first beer from El
Salvador was had in the Big Easy. These are nice memories for me, but
theyíre not important, because theyíre not what beer is all about.
Beer is not simply a
moderately alcoholic beverage made from water, barley, hops and yeast.
Itís the dough that forms the bread of our society. Itís the social
lubricant that gets the gears turning and allows the doors of
introversion to open.
Beer is life.
Beer unites people from
all walks of life, age, sex, race, religion, income ó you name it, beer
is the glue that can hold things together. No beverage has started more
conversations with a complete stranger than a glass of beer. No beverage
has taken part in more events in human history then beer. As for me,
itís been there in good times, like celebrating an A on a college final
or the marriage of a friend, and bad, as itís consoled the loss of
someone close. More importantly, as it is in New Orleans, it celebrates
the life of the one youíve lost.
When much of this
country is moving at hectic speeds, New Orleans culture has taught me to
enjoy life for what it is ó donít stress, relax and have a beer. I canít
imagine a Louisiana crawfish boil without beer any more than I can
imagine one without impromptu singing or dancing when thereís no music
playing. Good- natured, friendly and accepting of all ó maybe thereís
something we can learn from these people.
Evacuees are being
transplanted into many communities across the country, even here in New
Hampshire. I ask that we show them some ďSouthernĒ (N.H.) hospitality
and offer them a beer. Welcome them as they would have welcomed you,
with open arms and a smile. Who knows? Befriend a southerner and they
just might show you some great uses for all that bacon grease youíve
been throwing away.
Most importantly, you
donít have to make this offer just to a recent transplant. It applies to
everyone. Invite your neighbors over for a beer, check in with an old
friend or, of course, family. Live a little, get out and buy a stranger
a beer, learn a new face, name and listen to a new story. Buying someone
a beer is not an invitation to anything, other than a chat and goodwill.
A better world has to start somewhere; I suggest a grassroots approach.
Offer someone a beer and lend them your ear.
Mike Roy is the brew master at Millyís Tavern at 500 Commercial St. The
Beer Cellar appears semi-monthly in the Hippo. If you have any
suggestions for future columns, questions or comments on The Beer Cellar
send an e-mail to Beergasms@aol.com.