Dear Beergirl and Beerboy Disciples,
It’s that time of day again, isn’t it–your wallets are fat, and you’re feeling lazy.
I know how I can wake you up—how about a story? I know one you’re dying to hear one. How about one when I discovered the luck increasing power of Old Cheese?
It happened when I was on a foray in Europe. I was inbetween jobs, not looking for a vacation, not looking for work. I was just going around observing, looking. For what? For a man in my profession looking around with no point in mind can be good.
My looking led me into France, around Paris. Must have been my unspoken need for good food and beer. Yes, the French are famous for wine, but it’s a good country for beer, too.
Since I was moving around I obviously couldn’t stock up on beer. I’d just checked in to a new place, and of course now needed beer. The distance from the store to the hotel was 3 blocks. That is way too far to carry good beer by foot. All that walking motion destroys the integrity of good beer (not that US mass market grocery store stuff). I gently walked from the grocery store entrance to the sidewalk, and hailed a taxi.
A French cabbie drove over toward me. I did my best to pretend I knew French. It seemed to work. I opened the back door, carefully laid the beer on the back seat.
“Hey, you forgot your change!” I turned around and saw the clerk from the beer store.
“Keep the change! You know your beer and gave me good advice” I yelled in my clumsy French.
I heard the taxi engine gun. I turned quickly. The taxi guy smiled at me and stared off. My clumsy attempts at French had backfired. The taxi driver thought I’d just given him directions! Off went my beer!
This was one of those life-changing moments. When I’d bought that beer I’d made a commitment, like buying a dog. Once a dog is yours, you have responsibilities. I’d just have soon have let that taxi disappear into he sunset, but I was now responsible for that beer.
Parked nearby sat another cab. I ran over, pointed toward the moving cab. I opened my wallet, dumped money in the cab drivers lap, and pointed toward the disappearing cab. This time I made sure I got in the back seat before the cab took off.
Off we went. The beer cab soon headed for the countryside. The cab moved fast. My current cab driver had to work hard to keep up.
I’d never been in the French countryside. To be honest it hadn’t occurred to me that there was anything like countryside in the France. Learn something every day.
The beer cab turned off the pavement onto a small one-lane dirt road. At least at first I called it a road. The trees got tight against my cab, and I realized I’d seen paths like this in Siberia. Since the Feds might get a hold of this letter I won’t say why I frequent Siberia.
This path, and the ones in Siberia, were old cart paths. Cart paths are different than car roads. Cart paths accumulate the vibrations from a human body in a way car roads never can. This is because on cart paths people move along them at a very slow speed. This slowness allows human electrical vibrations to soak into the ground. And these vibrations pile upon each other, and pile upon each other, and pile upon each other, until the vibrations form a life of their own.
Civilization has moved away from most of these old paths. Where once the paths had been near the center of human life, now the few that remain lay in the middle of nowhere. These paths with such wondrous rejuvenating powers are rarely visited.
The closest city folk usually come to experiencing the old path vibrations is when they stand in the grocery store cheese section. It can be easy to miss the experience. Next time you’re near the cheese section, stand near the oldest cheese there. Feel the pull of the cheese, taking you back to a time forgotten.
Yes, that was where I was, on an old path. The beer cab and my cab had come out of the woods into a large clearing. In the clearing were the ruins of an old monastery or castle.
The beer cab skidded to a halt. Why? My driver did the same.
The beer cab driver leaped out, opened a back door, took out my beer, and placed the beer on a low wall of the ruins. Then he drove quickly away.
Should I run up and grab the beer? Obviously my driver had the same thoughts. He turned off his cab, and stared resolutely at the beer. Then he looked back at me.
Nature cannot be ignored. Me, I wanted to sit there in the car for who knows how long, waiting to see what would develop. But, the sun was out, and hot. That poor beer sat directly in the open, with no shade. I had no time to wait. I couldn’t think of myself first, the beer was getting hot and needed help.
What was this place? What had these ruins been? I’d have to go find out.
I patted my driver on the shoulder, motioned to him that he could leave once I was out. He shook his head ‘yes’.
He drove off into the afternoon. Both cabs were gone. Now, it was just me and my beer–out in the middle of nowhere.
I approached my beer cautiously. The sun was bright, some friendly birds chirped nearby. The setting felt idyllic, like the perfect magazine ad for beer.
Then I heard it–off to my right–the sound of a human foot disturbed the forest floor, from behind a short, thick tree. Who was it? Maybe a beer poacher?
The possible beer poacher stuck his head out from behind the tree. He wore one of those old Druid outfits. He looked quite old himself. Great; another Druid wannabe! Why not be something reasonable like a Star Trek fan.
Our eyes met, and we realized the beer had both of ours’ attention. We also knew that he was nearer enough to the beer that I couldn’t stop him from getting there first.
So, if I was going to lose anyway, why not make a grand gesture. I motioned that he could get the beer. Man, he could run fast.
“Hmm, beer.” The old man patted the six-pack in a way that showed this wasn’t the first time he’d held beer.
“Yep, that’s what it is; beer” I said.
“I haven’t seen any in ages, just ages,” said the Druid.
I’d been thinking in clumsy French so long I could understand this French guy.
“Guess you should get out more.”
“No, that’s not the way it works. I must wait until the beer comes to me.”
“Must make it tough to get any.”
“When it gets here it means is the right time. Let’s go inside.”
My host carried the beer, led me into the ruins. Back through the stonewalls we came to a small stairway going down. The Druid went down the stairs into the dark.
The guy lit a candle, then some more. We were in an old basement. It was very clean. I soon realized it was set up as some kind of mix of kitchen and church. There was a sink and kitchen counter near a large dinner table. A large cross sat on the table.
“What’s back there?”
The Druid walked to the back of the room, to wood racks.
“Come here, bringer of the beer.”
He showed me what lay on the racks. Large round, wax covered things.
“Cheese. This is best cheese in the world. Old stuff. When the Nazis came through here, we thought we’d lose all this. We walled it up in here, covered over the stairwell.”
“The others were older than me. They’ve died.”
“We left the wine unprotected. Once the Nazis found the wine, they stopped looking for anything else.”
“Cheese; I’m a fan of the stuff myself. But, give up your wine collection for cheese?”
“I’ll explain it to you since God had you bring the beer. That’s how it works. When it’s time to use the cheese, God sends someone like you. I don’t know all the details, but some how as the cheese gets old, years old, something concentrates in it. That tang you taste in cheese? That’s luck accumulating. The more mature the tang, the more luck in the cheese. When you eat the luck comes into you”
“And the beer?”
“Cheese this special can only be eaten with beer.”
“So, this means we’re going to eat?”
The old guy carried a cheese round to the counter. He cut several pieces, brought them to the table on a plate. I’m not sure how he opened the beer, but he brought two glasses full of it to the table.
“Eat and drink–your life will never be the same” he said.
“I can always use more luck.”
He motioned toward the cheese plate. The slices were colored light gold, the aroma so strong it enveloped the room. I felt like I was sitting round a card table, waiting to be dealt that special card. Here it was my special card, in a slice of cheese.
I bit in; it was quite good.
“Drink”. The old guy pointed to my beer.
The beer swirled in the mouth, and I took another bite of cheese. The tastes merged and stayed separate, too. I felt the glow of the cheese tang melt through my upper mouth, move toward my brain. I’d never experienced cheese like this before.
My brain glowed. The details of life, that can be so hard to sort through, separated into recognizable chunks. I realized how this luck worked. It made me more aware of how things worked.
“Great cheese. I feel lucky. What now.”
“You need a cheese collection of your own. Nothing less than 50 years old stuff. I’ll give you some blocks. Then you have to find more on your own.”
“I’ve got my cell phone. I’ll call a friend with a car,” I said.
The old guy raised his glass. I clinked mine against his. My, what can happen when a taxi takes off with your beer.
Yours in the faith,