I was only about six years old, sitting on a stool in my grandmothers kitchen, watching while my mother fixed eggnog for the Christmas party. Once she had the eggnog itself mixed up into a large bowl, she opened up a cabinet and took out a bottle filed with a dark liquid and poured some of if it into the eggnog. After a taste test, she put the bottle away and then left the room. My grandmother came in next and ladled herself a sip of the eggnog. Smacking her lips, she opened the same cabinet, took out the same bottle and poured more of the liquid into the bowl. After mixing it up and tasting again, she seemed satisfied and put the bottle away. She glanced at me, winked and then left the room to go put on some music. Moments later, my grandfather came into the room and, like my mother and grandmother before him, tasted the eggnog. He shook his head, opened the cabinet and took out the same bottle. He unscrewed the cap and emptied the rest of the bottle (well over half of the bottle) into the eggnog. He also mixed up the concoction, poured himself a tall glass and walked over to me, rubbing my head and tossing the now empty bottle into the garbage can. He then left, chuckling. .
When my mother came back into the room, I asked if I might have some eggnog. She stared at me a moment smiling, then said something like, “Why not.” She took out a cup and filled it about halfway, handing it to me. I took a sip and nearly choked to death, with the eggnog burning my throat. My mother, laughing, took the cup away and walked to the sink to empty the cup. Before she did, she took a sip, and then started spitting it out. This was followed by a scream, “Lindsey Powell!”. I could hear my grandfather laughing in the other room.
I now know, of course, the eggnog was spiked with rum. A lot of rum. My grandfather was quite fond of his alcohol, usually with unpleasant results. But on this particular occasion, it gave a young boy a real education about Christmas gatherings and their preparations. For the record, when the night was over, the bowl was empty.
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