My grandfather, John Wesley Williams, would have been classified as an alcoholic by today’s standards, I suppose. But he wasn’t even known as a drunk, except at times when he went to town and came home “sick,” as Grandma Williams sometimes said. She would read him the riot act.
He was a hard-working farmer, which probably kept him from being a full blown drunkard, but he did love the trips to town, and always managed to stop for a visit at the local tavern. He’d always ask if I wanted to stop for a soda pop when I was with him, and of course I always did, not realizing that I was being a willing accomplice to his actual reason for stopping.
I didn’t quite understand what was happening at the time, but one trip to town resulted in one beer leading to just one more, and then another, and so on, and Grandpa accusing the bartender of “short-changing” him (along with a choice epithet which I am not writing down); whereupon the bartender leapt over the bar, ‘Billy club’ in hand, forcing a hastily mumbled apology and an even hastier exit.
I have other memories of Grandpa which are more pleasant to remember which I will tell another time.