For a couple of weeks, i’ve been happily wallowing in college academia, a place that provides me with good feelings about myself…from a long time ago. It was something, decent work, for me to do. While doing so, i have been escaping to other yesteryears.
And, my music, claimed by Apple but my smart phone and i still resisting, put on my 45’s and LP’s from a forgotten era. Jimmy Reed dominating my “shuffled” songs originally heard on late night, early morning WLAC with Big John R, Gene Nobles (a Vanderbilt professor of all things), and Hoss Allen.
Bob Seger’s line from “Against the Wind,” “…wish i didn’t know now what i didn’t know then,” keeps resounding in this old empty head.
It is, here in the Southwest corner, the first real San Diego spring day. In other words, perfect. i am grilling a steak outside after sitting down in the late afternoon sun and sipping a “Martin.” Not misspelled by the way. That term came from yesteryear, from a spectacular chemist out of Washington, D.C. and VMI.
My recent email to closer friends involved with my recollection from yesterday retold my recollection:
Last evening, i had forgotten we were going out to dine. i was preparing my martini, when i realized that would not be a good thing to down since i was driving and would imbibe during our evening out. i pondered on what to do with the gin i had poured into my glass mixer with the spritzing of vermouth.
And then i remembered that classic man of Old Hickory fame, Cyril Vaughn Fraser, Jr. i took the glass mixer and put in the freezer.
Tonight, i pulled the concoction out of the freezer and poured it into my chilled martini glass with a couple of olives. Before i took my first sip, i toasted the man. You see, the elder Cyril would take his bottle of gin, infuse it with a small dousing of vermouth and put it in the freezer to store. When he pulled it out and poured his drink, he called them “Martins.” As i recall he made his with Beefeater and i make mine with Bombay Sapphire, but we will let that slide.
As i drank my Martin tonight, i realized that wonderful man had it right. They are much better the way he did it. i will resume that practice in his honor and to my benefit.
The addendum to that is a doozy.
Across the street on the corner was the home of neighbor friends of Cyril Jr.: Cyril, III, and Walt, or “Whitz” his family and i called him. The neighbor’s dog was a Saint Bernard. One summer afternoon, Norma, the distaff side of the neighbors, came across the street with her Saint Bernard to visit with the elder Fraser. He offered Norma a “martin” as they sat on the front porch, discussed all things important in the world and the neighborhood. One “martin” led to another, and another. Then, it was time for Norma to go home. Trying to get up (which i’m sure anyone who has had too many martins or martinis including me, have found to be an enormous challenge), Norma just couldn’t make it on her own. So, she fell across the back of that old faithful Saint Bernard who carried her across the street and to home.
This is a Fraser legend, which i do not doubt at all.