June 26th, 2021
My youngest son, Stefan, took me out for lunch. He arrived at our house at 1:00 on Father’s Day. He immediately took off his sunglasses and handed them to me. He said,
“Here. You need these.”
I put them on and Stefan laughed,
“Oh, fuck yeah! Now you look like you should be flying Black Hawks again!”
That’s Stefan, the Iron Worker, in the picture behind me. I am holding our grandson, Asher, in my arms. Asher is a healthy lad. He’s almost seven months old, with the physique of a sumo wrestler.
Stefan wanted to go to the Centraal Grand Café in Bay View. It’s a restaurant that specializes in Belgian beers. I like beer, especially craft beers.
But Stefan doesn’t drink beer. This is not to say that he doesn’t drink alcohol. He does. He just can’t drink beer. He is allergic to gluten. He told me,
“Yeah, I got tested. My gut gets moderately irritated by the gluten in wheat, barley, and rye.”
That eliminates the vast majority of beers. A few gluten free ales exist. Sprecher Brewery makes a sorghum-based beer called Skakparo. Sprecher uses a West African recipe for it. That beer has a very strange flavor to it. It is at best an acquired taste. I am okay with Shakparo. Stefan would rather drink hand sanitizer.
Fortunately for Stefan, there are other beverage options available. He can have a hard cider (e.g. Angry Orchard), or a hard seltzer (e.g. White Claw). Stefan is quite fond of Old Fashioned cocktails. That surprised me a bit. My parents liked to drink Old Fashioneds. It always seemed like an old person’s drink to me. I guess I was wrong.
A brandy Old Fashioned is a quintessential Wisconsin drink. Most of the inhabitants of the known universe prefer to use whiskey in the cocktail, but not the folks in this state. We only use brandy. I have no idea why that is. I do know that a well-made Old Fashioned is an excellent mixed drink.
So, if Stefan can’t pick anything off of the extensive beer list, why go to Centraal?
Centraal has an eclectic food menu with numerous gluten free dishes. Stefan longs for a burger and fries. Most fast food places only have buns that contain gluten, so Stefan has been burger-less for quite a while. Centraal serves savory burgers on gluten free buns that actually taste good. Sometimes gluten free bakery has the flavor and texture of cardboard. Not this time. Both Stefan and I ordered burgers. They were excellent.
Stefan talked about an altercation he had recently. Apparently, some punk threatened Stefan’s girlfriend and some other young women. Stefan, along with some beefy help, confronted the young man. Stefan was frustrated with the results of the encounter. He said to me,
“That little fucker told that he was going to come over and pump four bullets in my head. What kind of shit is that? I don’t understand these young guys. I am sure that back in the day, when you were young, you guys settled stuff with your fists. Now, all these punks want to go get their gun and shoot you.”
I find it amusing that Stefan, who is all of twenty-seven years old, is complaining about “these young guys”. However, he does have a valid point. It appears that the members of the up and coming generation of men need to prove their virility by owning and using a firearm. It’s like the return of the Wild West.
Stefan continued, “I am going to get a gun for self-protection.”
“I’ll get a shotgun. Then if some fucker tries to bust into my place, I can use it after he comes through the door.”
“What about a pistol?”
“No. I don’t want to carry around a pistol. I like to go to bars. I don’t want to be carrying a gun if I’ve been drinking.”
Good idea. That shows some self-awareness and prudence.
I told Stefan about a funeral I attended. For some reason that set him off. He ranted about how fake funerals were. He commented that people go to those affairs and talk about how great the deceased was, even if he or she was a total asshole.
That’s true. It is rare that anyone ever complains about the dead person at a wake. Usually, if there is nothing good to say about the dearly departed individual, then they say exactly that: nothing. I have been to funerals where the attendees never once commented on the person lying in the box. Silence can be more of a damning condemnation than any words.
Stefan took me home. We had a good time, and I look forward to spending time with him again. I think he feels the same way.
I went back into the house, and helped Karin to care for little Asher.