Saturday, February 19, 2011

Strawberry Hill

In my earlier years, as a young Navy man in San Diego, I was first introduced to Boones Farm Strawberry Hill wine at a party on the grass at Mission Beach. Now, I probably knew of the cold beverage before that but that was my first real experience.

We all sat in a circle, just talking and hanging out after a day of body surfing on a beach that will always be one of my favorites. One of the guys stated that we should play a drinking game. He pulled out a cold bottle of the brew and set down the rules. It was called the rhyme game. The first man would say a line and the next would say another that rhymed and then pass on the bottle. When someone flubbed, they would take a long swig and again pass it on.

The game created a quandary of sorts. You were challenged to not break the chain were thirsty also. So, when you did mess up, you messed up with a smile on your face.

I still remember that first taste. A sweet fruity blend that tasted like a refreshing fruit soda. Yet a few swallows of this soda began to warm and relax you like no other.

I liked it better than a cold beer back then. One of the fond thoughts were of just the share and fellowship of it all. I shared bottles on the beach, at a park, by the pool, and even on the hill overlooking the drive in theater where we would hang out and laugh as we would attempt to lip read the actors mouths coming up with some pretty good one liners in the process.

When Judy and I were first married, we would take in a drive in every weekend. We would get some sandwiches, a Kit Kat candy bar, and a bottle of Strawberry Hill and then drive in to the movie. Soon after supper, a snack, and sharing the bottle, Judy would be fast asleep and I would watch the rest of the movie before driving us home.

The price was a good thing also. A bottle cost 99 cents. If that was too much, there was a cheaper alternative called Ripple but that would often give me a head ache later on so I always tried to fork out the extra 20 cents.

I remember when Judy and I were first dating, I took her to a fancy restaurant close to the airport. The waiter brought over the wine and poured me a splash in my glass. "Wow, they sure don't give you much here.", I quipped. Judy laughed and leaned over whispering in my ear what my responsibilities were and with a smile, I tasted it and gave my waiter the OK for more. Judy asked me if I liked the wine and my answer was simple. "It's not bad but it sure isn't Boones Farm.".

I recall being in the Philippines and finding it there. It brought back memories of home and I even shared a bottle once at the end of the pier with a mate before we stepped back aboard ship.

Somewhere along the line, it seemed to disappear, however, and it has been years since I had seen a bottle until Judy showed me one on a recent trip to Walmart. We purchased a bottle and it is sitting in my fridge waiting. I kind of wish it was a hot summer day right now. We could sit out on the deck gazing at the mountains and do the rhyme game all over again.

Once there was a dog

who had a frog

that lived on a log

in the fog

and he had a cat.....(swig)....."Ahhhh".

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