The Toast | Creative Writing | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published June 9, 2004 at 4:00 a.m.

His old tool shop smelled

of machine oil, sawdust,

and men who couldn't

care less how they smelled.

There, on Saturday

afternoons, the men

turned up tall bottles,

leaned against work benches,

lathes, drills, or vises;

they fooled with hammers,

planes, and screwdrivers

while they talked away

the time, occasionally

erupting with one

of those mighty beer

belches that impressed

the belt-high grandson

just hanging around,

knowing eventually

he'd be offered one

short sip, then laughed at

for the face he'd make.

Now older than all

of those men, I've done

my duty by beer,

cycled a river

of that stuff through me,

acted the fool, puked

from the windows of fast-

moving cars, earned my

stripes in the army

of flaming assholes.

Now in the kitchen,

about to serve dinner,

I'm remembering,

and I lift my mug.

My grown-up daughters

raise their stemmed glasses.

We laugh, though we don't

know exactly why.

-- David Huddle