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Cherry Bounce

My dad, Dr. MB Casteix, used to make cherry bounce. His foray into creating adult beverages began when he was quite young. Since he started college two years earlier than most, having skipped two grades, he must have been younger than 16 on his first attempt because he was still living at home with his parents. At that time they were living on Bourbon Street in the building that is now the Famous Door Bar. It was a pharmacy at then, and the family lived above it. I wrote about his cherry bounce escapades here.

I decided I would like to attempt to recreate MB’s cherry bounce, but I don’t have his recipe and have no idea how he made it. I did a search online and found a few recipes, including one that is attributed to Martha Washington.

I did know one thing about MB’s recipe, and that was that it evidently continued to ferment in the bottle. In that linked post above, there was a recalled incident of the top blowing off the bottle and scaring the hell out of our maid. The recipes I found called for adding bourbon, rye, or brandy to the cooked cherry mash then storing that for three months. The alcohol should prevent any further fermenting, I would think. But I have to go with what I have.

So…I created a modified version of Martha’s recipe in smaller test proportions and cooked up a batch. The attached pic is the cherry mash before adding the rye whiskey. Unfortunately, we will have to wait three months to see if it is any good.

So, stand by…

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“You going to wear that?”

I used to consider myself a pretty good dresser. (Note the past tense.) As finances allowed, I stayed up with the styles, especially when younger. While in school, we young men were careful not to make any fashion faux pas that might hurt our chances with the ladies. We would exchange the latest fashion trends amongst ourselves. (Surprised, ladies?)

I worked in a men’s store part-time while in college and learned many things about the proper gentlemanly dress from another salesman who was a VERY dapper dresser, and the women absolutely loved him. From that experience, I learned about proper trouser length, how much cuff should show from under the sleeves of your coat, proper color matching, NEVER mix patterns (which seems to be de rigueur these days, go figure), and other sundry dressing codes for young men.

This carried forward even into my military service. My uniforms were always starched with creases sharp enough to cut thick-skinned tomatoes into paper-thin slices. My sense of style even got me into trouble when I tapered my trousers. My CO obviously wasn’t as fashion conscious as I was, and he made me take the taper out.

Even though my business life after the service, I was required to wear suits to work and I even enjoyed it. As the years passed, the dress codes relaxed to allow just trousers and a nice shirt—but no jeans. Then dress-down Friday came along, and “nice” jeans were allowed. As I neared retirement, even jeans became acceptable every day. Ah, the times they were a-changin’. But that excluded wives.

Eventually, every married male will, at some time, hear that fear-inducing question from their spouse concerning whatever it is they have on when about to head out for the night’s festivities. It comes in three versions, representing ascending levels of both distaste and threats should the offensive behavior continue. Whatever the level of distaste expressed, they all come at that moment when the spouse steps out of the bathroom fully dressed to the nines and encounters innocent you standing there buttoning the last button on your shirt or tidying up the knot of your tie. Let me expand on this below.

Threat Level 1 – She steps forth from the bathroom and finds you standing there. She stops in her tracks. One eyebrow goes up and the other goes down in a questioning glare that begins at your feet and slowly makes its way up to the top of your head. The innocent (clueless) you look like a deer caught in the headlights of a car that is a half a second away from the impact. You very stupidly say, “What?”

Here it comes. In a tone that suggests only mild disagreement with your fashion choices, she casually tosses out (like a hand grenade), “You going to wear that?”

Gentlemen, let me clearly state that “yes” is the wrong answer. Don’t waste your time arguing. Whatever you have on must be changed immediately.

Threat Level 2 – Same scenario as above, but this time that question is asked just a bit differently. It comes out as, “You going to wear THAT?” Note the very strong emphasis on “that.”

Gentlemen, a “yes” answer will mean being sent to the couch for at least three nights. Don’t even think of going there, but tuck your tail and find something to wear that she approves of.

Threat Level 3 – Same scenario but this time the question becomes a command, “You are NOT going to wear THAT!”

Gentlemen, a “yes” reply here will ultimately involve lawyers and cost you lots of money—assuming you survive the night. Save yourself some grief and just let her pick something out, put it on, and shut up.

I don’t know what happened to our sense of fashion between our early years and retirement, but we obviously lost it along the way. At least, that’s what my wife tells me whenever I attempt to dress for some social event.

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Kappa Sigma

I was not the best of students in college. Frankly, I played too much and compounded that by changed majors and changed colleges. My grandfather, an educator and principal at East Jefferson High School where I attended, had mapped out a curriculum designed to prep me for architecture. But I hated math, even though I did well in it when I applied myself, so architecture (before computers doing all that calculating) did not have much appeal. I started out taking fine art, because I had no idea what I wanted to do.

And I minored in beer. Made good grades in that, but not so much in the more serious courses. I finally woke up and realized a career in fine art was not likely to be very profitable. Hearing about a great program in advertising design at the University of Southwest Louisiana that sounded like it might provide a living, I transferred and changed my major. It was a wise move professionally, because I did eventually manage to make a decent living in advertising after college.

ks-6Meanwhile, some new friends at USL (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette – ULL) recruited me to join a frat, Kappa Sigma. My roommates and I went though rush in the fall of ’65, and we all ended up pledging the Epsilon Chi Chapter of Kappa Sigma, one of the largest and oldest fraternities on America.

Ever see the movie Animal House? No, we weren’t that bad (were we?), but the Kappa Sigs were indeed called the “animals” long before the movie came out. We even got put on probation during my pledge semester—not “double secret probation” like in the movie, but probation none-the-less—hazing among other things… Hey, it helped prepare me for basic training in the military! The TI at Lackland AFB screaming in my face was a cakewalk after Hell Week as a pledge. (The pic is of me doing my Otter imitation years before Otter became famous in Animal House.)

Much to my surprise, I was recently contacted by an old (literally) frat brother, Chip Manion, to tell me about a gathering of some brothers living in New Orleans. We only managed to collect up five of us; three others were unable to attend, but we did gather for lunch and spend some time “reeking.” (No, I’m not going to explain that. It means different things to different brothers at different times, both good and bad.)

Not long after that I was notified that a brother, Bo Cooksey, was in the advanced stages of cancer, and an event was being put together for his benefit. In the spring, Janis and I journeyed back to Lafayette for a gathering of sixties era Kappa Sigmas from Epsilon Chi Chapter at the ULL Alumni house. My first thought upon walking into the gathering was who are all these OLD men? They were actually a rather distinguished looking bunch. Some dressed in suits, others more casually, many carrying a few extra pounds and a less hair than when I last saw them.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but September of 1965 was the beginning of a life-long friendship with many really fine gentlemen. Back then I never would have believed some of them would achieve what they did, but many went on to serve honorably in the military during the Viet Nam War, some became doctors, lawyers, financial bankers, politicians, builders of industry, and leaders of their communities. Yes, the “animals!” I saw people I haven’t seen since I graduated. Seeing these old friends and renewing friendships from college was something I will cherish forever. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed their company—and how much fun we had together.

Some I have kept up with, but alas, some I have lost touch with, because they have passed to that “Great Chapter House in the Sky,” or something like that. Some of my fondest memories of college are associated with my brothers in Kappa Sig.

Even though we may have been negligent, “trapped” in our lives of marriages, raising kids, making a living—growing old, it’s not too late to renew fellowship with old friends. We have pledged to gather again before too many more of us move on to that Great Chapter House in the Sky. I encourage you to do the same while you still can.

AEKDB

ks-shirtI found my old jersey from college. I am amazed at how much it shrunk just sitting a drawer all these years.  😉

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Suffering and Sin: not always go hand-in-hand

In the words of Blue in An Eternity of Four Years, “Trials make you bitter or better. You pick which.”

Potholes in the Road of Life

This is part two of the Three Day Quote Challenge I’m participating in. Part one can be found HERE and the first post explaining it all HERE.

The other day I was doing some devotional reading on the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John. The devotional was speaking about Jesus’ teaching on the man who was blinded from birth, verses 1-3:

“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭1-3‬ ESV)

The devotion also included several quotes from various theologians and preachers, some you may be familiar with:

“Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins–but sometimes the trial of extraordinary…

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