Thursday, January 14, 2010

To Taste, Perchance To Dream

If you haven't read Roger Ebert's column Nil by Mouth, where he discusses losing the ability to eat or drink after a number of unsuccessful cancer surgeries, you really should give it a go.

I dreamed. I was reading Cormac McCarthy's Suttree, and there's a passage where the hero, lazing on his river boat on a hot summer day, pulls up a string from the water with a bottle of orange soda attached to it and drinks. I tasted that pop so clearly I can taste it today. Later he's served a beer in a frosted mug. I don't drink beer, but the frosted mug evoked for me a long-buried memory of my father and I driving in his old Plymouth to the A&W Root Beer stand (gravel driveways, carhop service, window trays) and his voice saying "...and a five-cent beer for the boy." The smoke from his Lucky Strike in the car. The heavy summer heat.

For nights I would wake up already focused on that small but heavy glass mug with the ice sliding from it, and the first sip of root beer. I took that sip over and over. The ice slid down across my fingers again and again. But never again.
Are you craving a frosty mug of root beer right now? I am.

Image via ft1958's photostream on flickr

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