When those we love bestare dead and gone, Crown gives comfortfor loss to the beyond.
I’ll admit it, I had a lot of doubts about whiskey from the Western Hemisphere.
No offense, but Scotland and Ireland are the true source of all good libations from which the rest of God’s Earth takes succor and nothing will ever convince me otherwise. In my wide travels before settling between the Atlantic and Pacific, I made a point to sample as many different liquors, beers and wines as possible, but for the longest time I could never make myself drink more than a shot or seven of any whiskey not from the Holy Land of Drink. Most of it was fairly good, but it didn’t take me anywhere special. I didn’t get that smooth, calm, transported feeling a glass of Jameson’s or Glenlivet gives while listening to Van Morrison or John Lee Hooker. I had no emotional connection to anything else; the rest were all pale imitations.
But then fate intervened. I lost my 17-year old dog Lord Sidwell Chillington IV. He was a great friend, a pure bred dachshund born in 1984 in Cork County, IR. My grandpappy gave him to me for Christmas that year, and we were together ever since. Friends, girlfriends and jobs came and went but Lord Sidwell was always there with his floppy ears, thumping tail and endless energy. I just couldn’t stay down around him; Lord Sidwell would not allow it. He had the best bullshit detector I’ve ever seen; he was friendly to everyone unless they gave me grief. Then I had one and a half stone of indignant fury at my side. The grief and grief-givers were always ended tout-suite after that. He was the most loyal friend I’ll ever have.
About 14 years ago he started to slow down, getting cataracts so he couldn’t see very well and arthritis so severe that he’d be on three legs by the end of most days. Through it all he never whinnied or cried. When the end came it was a Sunday so I couldn’t make a run to the liquor store for my traditional wake drink, Jameson’s. My friend had left over a half-drunken bottle of Crown Royal a couple of days before so I reluctantly poured myself a tumbler full after burying him in my backyard. It was a bright cool October day, the kind of day Lord Sidwell would wait patiently for me to wake up from my patented Sunday afternoon “naps” to go outside and play fetch for a couple of hours. I sat looking at his grave, shedding more than a few tears and drinking the Crown. It may not have been as rich as Jameson’s, but it went perfectly with my infinite memories of Lord Sidwell. It’s a good, strong drink, smooth and friendly just like the Lord. He loved it in the Americas with the huge, wide open spaces and endless dog parks and though I’d learned to like much of it, it wasn’t until his passing that I found a native whiskey that I could call my own. Now whenever I happen upon my Crown, I don’t turn up my nose in vain snobbery. I gladly quaff it down, remembering my best friend. Is math an sgàthan sùil caraide.