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Someone once said it is sad that there are 24 hours in a day and only one of them is called the “Happy Hour.” How true!
“Happy Hour...a time, as in the late afternoon, when a bar or tavern features drinks at reduced price.” My Webster’s gives a very concise description of that age-old custom called the happy hour, but there is much more to this phenomenon than reduced-priced drinks for a certain hour of the day. Happy hour denotes a certain camaraderie, a feeling of fellowship, and love for our fellow men — maybe with the exception of the bum who never buys a round.
Not many people know this but the happy hour tradition was started by George Washington during the Revolutionary War. After a hard day of battling the oppressive Redcoats, old George liked nothing better than to stop by the “Dew Drop Inn” for a refreshing pint of Miller Lite. He suggested to Betsy Ross, the bar wench, that she should designate an hour or two each business evening when libations might be reduced to attract more of the enlisted men. Betsy not only reduced prices from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, but she started putting out free finger food such as venison jerky, johnnycakes, and hot wings.
Happy hours at the Dew Drop Inn became so popular that even the Hessian mercenaries, who were working for the Redcoats, would stop in for a stein of Lowenbrau or a jigger of Jagermeister. Also, every Friday there were horseshoe and dart tournaments which often went on long after the designated happy hour. It was during one of those extended Friday happy hours that Washington snuck his troops across the Delaware River, captured the Hessian garrison at Trenton, N. J., and turned the tide of the war. So much for today’s history lesson.
The Little Woman (she still has not warmed up to that name) and I have our own little happy hour tradition here on the banks of Golden Pond. This tradition includes a libation, of course, but I also prepare a pu-pu platter that would rival any that Betsy put out. Yesterday, we had roasted garlic and brie on melba rounds and a sliced Gala (no relation to TLW) apple. Today, I’m fixing a cheese tostada topped with poblano peppers and red onions.
It would not be happy hour without some kind of sports on the televisions — right now it is the PGA championships. I say again — I am so thankful that TLW is as much a sports addict as I am (that’s watching them, not doing them). Neither of us are into watching the Olympics live too much, but we follow the highlights daily. I sometimes feel that they have “sports” in the Olympics that no one ever plays except for once every four years. I mean, since when did shooting an air rifle (as in BB gun) qualify as an international sport?
One time, TLW and I were walking through the French Quarter and saw a sign in the window of a really nice restaurant and martini bar which offered 25-cent martinis. We decided that we could not pass up that kind of a deal, so we went in the bar and each ordered a martini and some lunch. As we were sipping our wonderful, iced cold 25-cent libations, I noticed that there were four old guys at the end of the bar who had no drinks in front of them. We finished our toddy and lunch and, as we were getting up to resume our tour of the French Quarter, I noticed the four old codgers still had nothing in front of them. I asked the bartender what that was all about and he replied, “Oh, they’re all retired Air Force colonels and they just sit around waiting for Happy Hour when drinks are half price.” That is an old Command Sergeant Major joke and has no reflection on those many colonels I came to know and love (and make sure their medals were on right).
I was once stationed at a base that had joint-service aircraft on one side of the airfield and a civilian airport on the other side of the runways. Both air operations were controlled by a tower that was located dead in the middle of the runways.
One day, the controller on duty received a call from an aircraft asking for the correct time. The controller responded by asking, “Who is calling?” The aircraft responded testily, “What difference does it make who’s calling?” The controller snapped back, “It makes a lot of difference: if it’s a commercial flight, the time is 3 o’clock; if it’s an Air Force plane, it’s 1500 hours; if it’s a Navy plan, it is six bells; if it’s and army plane, the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 3; and if it’s a Marine Corps aircraft, it’s Thursday afternoon and only 120 minutes to ‘Happy Hour.’”
I have often mentioned my crazy cousin Teddy and the subject of happy hour reminds me of the time his third wife, Bubba-ann beat him severely with a straw broom. It seems Teddy came back to the house after an extended happy hour and was met at the door by Bubba-ann, who was brandishing a big old straw broom. Teddy always was a bit too cute for his own good, and he glibly asked, “Hi, Babe, are you cleaning house or getting ready to fly off somewhere?” Teddy missed a lot of happy hours after that one.
See ya...and may all 24 hours of your day be happy ones.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org