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Stories from the Road: My First Beer

(Starting in 2015, I was an Uber Driver for about 18 months. Here is a story from that tenure)

I grew up Baptist and, well, I'm a teetotaler. Well, not totally accurate, as I will enjoy a glass of champagne, if available, and I love something that has Kahlua (Kahlua frosts are a treat), Bailey's Irish Cream (hot chocolate with Bailey's! Yes please!), or Bourbon or Brandy in a hot drink with it. However, it's rare that I partake of anything alcoholic.

Now, I don't begrudge those who drink and I pretty much mind my own business, but, it's never been my thing. I don't even care much for to take communion at churches that serve the real stuff.

(Speaking of this, an aside here - one of my favorite memories of my oldest daughter growing up, when she was 11, I had a interview at an Episcopal church for a youth director's job, and part of that experience was to bring the family to a Sunday service. It came the time in the service for communion, and our family made the trip to the chancel area and knelt to await the serving of the wafer and common cup. Now, our kids were raised Methodist, which does grape juice. So, at the time our family knelt together, I realized that the real stuff was coming. And it was a second later that I saw my daughter dip the wafer into the cup and partake of her first alcohol. The screwed up face of disgust is one only a father could love!)

I had never tried a beer, even so much as a swig when using it to cook something. That is, unknowingly and unbeknownst to me, I finally purchased my first beer to drink at the age of 52.

Here were the circumstances:

It's 8:30 p.m. and I'm hungry. I wind up in a section of Charlotte known as NoDa (it's situated on North Davidson St.), which is a collection of older buildings that has a feel of downtown Asheville - very eclectic, lot's of old-timey bars, small restaurants, etc.

I pass a place called Benny Pennello's Pizza, a little brick building that has promise for a delicious single slice of pizza, so I pull in to go eat.

I order a slice of pizza (it took up two paper plates) and I really wanted a root beer. Benny's has several craft brands - I guess they could be called that - such as Maine or Virgil's that I like.

Benny Pennello's Pizza, Charlotte

Also, rare as it is, I love a good root beer on tap (Mellow Mushroom's in Asheville is divine) and my hope was this place would have it. I see something called "Not Your Father's Root Beer" and I order one thinking it would be something on tap. No tap, but they did have it in cans with the other root beers. I can deal with that.

Again, a refresher. I don't drink.. The smell of beer makes me gag, It's not my thing.

Now, again, it's 8:30 p.m. and I've been driving off and on since 7 a.m. that morning. I'm tired, hungry and just want to chill a bit and decide how much longer I want to work this day. I'm not thinking about anything other than pizza and root beer.

So, imagine my surprise when I open the can and take my first swig of "Not Your Father's Root Beer."

I drank just enough swigs (four) to wash down the pizza.

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