It was called Buddy Bowle’s and it was at the top of the hill about a half mile just beyond the Red River Bridge in Oklahoma. Buddy’s only rule was that you could reach the top of the counter. I got my driver’s license on my fourteenth birthday and it was probably not much more than a year before I made my first trip to Buddy’s for 3.2 beer. After that it became fairly frequent. Now, my older brother “didn’t drink” but I remember the day when my father found a couple dozen bottles of beer hidden under the back seat of his car. He claimed he was holding it for a friend but the friends beers ended up broken and scattered all over our back yard. Dad threw each one as hard as he could straight up. Then there was the time he evicted a very favored renter from one of his houses because he noticed a single beer bottle in their trash. Needless to say, Dad was a teetotaler of the first order. He admitted to me that he had drank when he was young and I suspect that something bad happened, something that was really, really bad to make him hate booze so much. In looking back, how I ever got away with drinking is more than I can comprehend. Truthfully, at the time I saw it as him not caring enough for me to do anything about it although I really know that was not the case. Actually, how anyone from my teen years ever reached adulthood is beyond my comprehension. I was probably suicidal—no probably about it. You have to be when you are chasing a carload of girls to Frederick, Oklahoma and you pass an eighteen wheeler at over seventy miles an hour on a two lane road while sitting in the passenger’s seat and steering with you left foot. Being a dyed in the wool Baptist I fully understood that suicide was an unpardonable sin but I figured there was a technicality that I could slide in on—if there was an accident, even though it was really my fault the accident occurred it wouldn’t “technically” be suicide. At least I would have a case to argue. As best as I can figure God took one look and knew he wasn’t about to put up with my behavior in heaven till I decided to grow up—I think he may still be waiting.