Blue Ribbons

My husband has always had another love besides me. I went into this relationship knowing that no matter where we went or how old we got, one thing would always follow us. His obsession with cheap beers.

When I first met him, he and his buddies worshipped at the shrine of Pabst. They drank it, talked it, collected it. In my opinion, it tasted vile, but to them it was the nectar of the gods. Pabst signs and lights hung around the house we all shared for a year, cans and bottles of the blue ribbon bedecked beverage sat in the fridge, and praises were sung to it's frothy goodness the summer nights we sat on the back porch enjoying the night air and of course, a cold one.

Fast forward three years, two kids, two houses, and a job change later. The signs hang downstairs in the weight room, my husband's domain. At every barbecue you will still inevitably find a bottle or two circulating the room. The vocal praising has somewhat subsided, but on every male face there is still the look of appreciation as he sips his beer. The mania has somewhat subsided, but the other day as I browsed a selection of books, I saw the familiar ribbon logo on top of the words, Great American Beers. I perused, thought Evan would enjoy it, and purchased it. He's been reading it almost every night since, and I decided to take a look as well. I was astounded at the history inside it's pages. It lists twelve brands of beers that became "American icons", and truthfully, is fascinating. I suddenly understand the obsession to collect what I once looked at as random man crap. It's a piece of history, a piece of American culture.

In a somewhat unconscious move, I started browsing EBay for other similar items and found a treasure trove of antique type items from each of these founding breweries. I showed Evan, and it's become quite fun to steal moments together searching for and discovering items that are linked to the history behind cans and bottles. We actually made a purchase of an unissued stock certificate in the Pabst Brewing Company dated 1910, and I hope to slowly add other such items to the collection Evan started years ago. When the stock arrives this week, it will be ooh-ed and ah-ed over, and then it will join the other items already downstairs in Evan-land, although that will not be it's permanent home. I've decided that I no longer want those once pesky displays closeted away, I want them where I can enjoy them with my new found insight, and so soon, when we are finished remodeling the basement and it becomes the family room of my dreams (whose previous design called for the boxing and storing of beer related items), I will proudly hang these pieces of American culture where they will be seen and enjoyed, and more importantly, where I can share them with the man who inspired their presence. The book that started it all will sit on a coffee table perhaps, ready to educate future generations of beer connoisseurs.

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