Every day (and I do mean every day) around four or five o’clock in the afternoon, and sometimes three o’clock on weekends—all the sweat of the brow here at Kalien ceases and a new, dare I say, happy attitude permeates the atmosphere as if by magic.
My wife Gina says it’s her favorite time of the day—even more so than coffee hour in the morning. All day the anticipation builds—because every day without fail it happens.
Cocktail hour. That magical time each day when the day’s useful—and at times harsh—accomplishments give way to useless and lovely conversation about life’s lighter and more exhilarating moments—revelations that can only be fully realized and celebrated with a gentle buzz.
That moment when the myriad unsolved and undone tasks of the day melt into one simple question that always has a spirit-ual solution—the holy and sacramental trinity of whiskey, vodka and gin. Can I hear an amen?
If you were to ask me if I’ve ever had the bad luck to miss my daily cocktail,—since the glorious day of my emancipation from those boring teetotalers called Southern Baptists—I’d have to say that I doubt it; where certain things are concerned, careful planning is of the essence.
There is something refreshingly sinful and wicked about owning a cocktail shaker and having one’s liquor cabinet properly stocked and in public view. Even Remy the dog comes running joyfully when she hears the musical vibration of ice cubes wafting through the air.
Everyone in the house knows that with only a few sips—drooping spirits and tails alike will raise and wag in homage to this most delightful of hours.
Gina and I often wonder as we savor our refreshing whiskey and rye, out here in the wilderness, children all grown and gone, if other people are as religious as we in honoring this most spiritual time—this sabbath, if you will.
Do other people consider it a commandment to keep this sacramental time holy? Do they realize if they honor this precept, their days on earth will be longer—and happier?
As the hour goes on I am often prone to philosophizing. I realize that as this diatribe stretches on you may feel I will soon be prone in another manner.
Consider this, Could the reason we have placed cocktail hour at 5pm after the work of the day foreshadow the opportunity we have in the afternoon of life to celebrate the accomplishments of the morning of life?
Or do we forever wait for the long weekend, the all-inclusive island resort, or the sunny beach vacation somewhere in the not too distant future?
Is happiness always somewhere else? Someplace with boat drinks, some secret, distant state of bliss?
Or is it possible to have a little bit of happiness—of fun—every day? To have our cocktail and drink it too.
It’s five o’clock somewhere.
If you have the chance to visit our home, and if you look carefully in the great room, you will notice a peculiar anomaly, the clock (pictured above) is always set at five o’clock. Always.
Just in case.
To paraphrase Auntie Mame, “Life is like a cocktail hour, but most poor suckers are just thirsting to death.”