Sunday, December 27, 2009

No. 96

Beer: Budweiser
Date: December 25th, 2009
Place: The Griffins, Fayetteville, NC

I've been meaning to have a beer with Dan for a couple of years now.

Dan is family. Or, in the typical convoluted family connection description paradigm, he is my wife's aunt's husband, or my father-in-law's brother-in-law, or my wife's cousin's dad. Or, in the proper business sense, Dan is our financial planner.

After the Madoff debacle, the family member as money shepherd is somewhat of a creepy thing. You ship crates of money their way, trust they put it where it would benefit you most. Talk to them monthly and view statements and ask advice and hope that the whole of it isn't built of cards but of more - as if our monetary system is backed by something real and something other than simple trust.

As well as our money going through that man's hands, he seems like a good guy.

At every holiday we are in Raleigh, I can't help but feel like he's gotten the short end of the stick. He's accepted a heck of a lot of responsibility for the family and has taken it with no bitterness. He drives his inlaws and wife and kids up to Raleigh, two and a half hours round trip, for all the holidays and all the Sunday afternoon meals and whatever else transpires between family, between houses. And as it's the case, it's never been a good time to sit and have a beer. Dan is a man on a schedule and a mission and an interstate.

But I've been promising that I owe him a beer for months now. So as we pulled into their house, I unloaded a sixer of Budweiser, straightened my tie, and celebrated the holiday.

After the dinner was eaten and the presents were opened and before the dessert sweetened the deal, I was able to crack open a brew with Dan. And we were able to chat for a few minutes about nothing in particular.

And about as quickly as it had started, it was over. Because for a man on a mission and a man on a schedule and a man like Dan, who saddles up responsibility of families and monies, there isn't much time to slow down and have a beer.

For there are still desserts to be out out and dishes to be cleaned and families to be hugged and weekends to be squeezed before enduring another week of an economy that had soured years ago.

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