Contributors, Terry Sweeney|August 10, 2011 4:43 pm

Take a Break From the Grape

Terry Sweeny

Recently my doctor suggested I get a full physical, not because anything was particularly

wrong or suspicious but it had been about three years since I’d had one. When I asked what it

would entail, he said, “Oh, the usual…cardiogram, blood screening, blah, blah, blah… check

your liver…”

Check my liver?! After Water Festival?! I don’t think so! I immediately started fast-talking

my way out of it, hinting at a possible out-of-town business trip (I don’t even have a

business!), the possible failing health of my elderly grandmother, which might require a quick

trip to see her (her grave, that is; she’s been dead 20 years), and my old stand-by stall – “When

are you going out of town? I definitely want to have you do it and nobody else.” Whatever

they give me as a date, I look at my calendar on my phone, and sadly shake my head saying,

“Oh darn, that’s the only free week I have.” (Fake dramatic sigh).

Then comes my grand faux finale. (Cue “horrified look at watch.”) “Oh my god! I was

supposed to meet Pat Conroy five minutes ago! I don’t even have time for the blood test!”

And out I scurry.

Not that I was actually going to meet Pat Conroy; but since he’s the biggest Lowcountry

V.I.P. we’ve got, I always use his name. People generally don’t delay me if they fear that,

because of them, the great Pat Conroy is somewhere drumming his fingers, waiting for me,

instead of hitting the keys of his laptop to create another work of absolute genius. Pat’s my

friend; he understands.

Let’s face it, I panicked. How could I tell my doctor that this hot, humid, hell-on-earth summer

had turned me into a non-stop party-hardy Class A lush? Unable to stand the summer heat, I

had taken to filling glasses chock full of ice and something to take the edge off and off and off

and… well, off the deep end! That’s all over now.

I must whip my liver into tip-top shape before its next check-up. And it couldn’t come at a

better time. After all, for us Lowcountry Happy Winos, Water Festival is our New Year’s

Eve. It marks the end of the summer and beginning with September, the new school year,

when we all feel more sober. (Except for mothers with tantrum-throwing, whiney children

who are finally back in school. They don’t have to ‘cut back’. Their battle cry? ‘When the brat’s

away, out comes the Chardonnay!!’) But for the rest of us, it’s time to take a wee break, don’t

you think?

As for me, I always find the strength somehow, every August, to turn away from wine for the

month. Well… at least for two weeks. Big deal, you say? It is in these parts! As I was

writing this on my porch, someone rode by, beeped the horn, and screamed, “Meet us at

Breakwater for a glass of wine!!” Really!! Is there no respect for the solemn vow of

abstinence I am about to take? Anyway my fellow Happy Winos, let’s do this together. And

may I suggest that, to start, we toast each other with a cranberry and orange juice combo for a

fake ‘Madras’ or a virgin Mary with straight Zing Zang, or even – dare I say it – a tall glass of

ice-water instead of straight vodka. Just to show our livers a little love? C’mon! It’s only two

weeks! You can do it! I’m sure I can do it. I just have to find the right two weeks; and I’m

going to… real soon.

Cheers!

As for me, I always find the strength somehow, every August, to turn away from wine for the

month. Well… at least for two weeks. Big deal, you say? It is in these parts! As I was

writing this on my porch, someone rode by, beeped the horn, and screamed, “Meet us at

Breakwater for a glass of wine!!” Really!! Is there no respect for the solemn vow of

abstinence I am about to take? Anyway my fellow Happy Winos, let’s do this together. And

may I suggest that, to start, we toast each other with a cranberry and orange juice combo for a

fake ‘Madras’ or a virgin Mary with straight Zing Zang, or even – dare I say it – a tall glass of

ice-water instead of straight vodka. Just to show our livers a little love? C’mon! It’s only two

weeks! You can do it! I’m sure I can do it. I just have to find the right two weeks; and I’m

going to… real soon.

Cheers!

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