Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oil of Conversation, Matters of Principle

Perhaps I've made mention before of my love of the whiskey drink. It is really something that runs in our family. When I first learned to take a "pull" of the bottle, I also learned that one should toss the cap as far into the woods as possible. This motion proves your intent. Makes you stick to your guns and if nothing else says, "If I'm going down, you're going with me."  Whiskey in our family has been used in recipes, as cough medicine and as bug repellent. Some families see vinegar as an all purpose fix, our sees whiskey as such.

I first heard the following hollared on the porch of house in Alberton, Montana where my brother was living for a spell. The next time was at his wedding. What strikes me about it most is the passion behind the words and the southern accent that I imagine in the delivery...

In 1952, Armon M. Sweat, Jr., a member of the Texas House of Representatives, was asked about his position on whiskey. What follows is his exact answer (taken from the Political Archives of Texas):

"If you mean whiskey, the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.

However, if by whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.

This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle."

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