The neighborhood book club is fierce—an Olympic sport of sorts that requires endurance, layers of long underwear, a strong bladder, and copious amounts of easy-to-open booze. In these pandemic times, four of us sturdy members have met outside, six feet apart, in frigid temperatures. We might discuss a book for about five minutes, but mostly we drink wine and return to our respective houses with blue lips and fingers too frozen to open the front door. So then, we have to pound loudly and yell, “Let me in! Book club is over! I can’t feel anything! Are my feet still attached to my legs? Will you carry me?”
This month, I will invest in more long underwear, but also, I want something new to drink that’s super portable, so I sent my husband to the store and told him to surprise me. “Get me something I won’t have trouble opening,” I said. He briefly surveyed a mound of mangled corks I’ve left on the countertops—each one telling a sad, horrifying story.
Then, he left for the store and came home with a can of House Wine, Limited Edition Rosé Bubbles. I’ve tried wine in a can before, so my expectations were low. With hesitation, I took a sip and was happily transported back to a 7-Eleven store in my mind. In this 7-Eleven store, it was about 7:30 a.m., and my mom had some kind of college teaching-related business to take care of there before dropping me off at school, I guess? (Could you run photocopies in a 7-Eleven store back then? Or maybe she just needed coffee?) In any case, I saw Ring Pops at the check-out counter and just had to have one. Mom reasoned that, nutritionally speaking, I should probably start with a plastic-wrapped pastry first and then I could have the Ring Pop, which was divine—a perfect ending to a wholesome, yet mangled cinnamon apple danish-like thing.
The House Wine, Limited Edition Rosé Bubbles then, is just like a Ring Pop from the 7-Eleven store, but bigger and bubblier and with 12.5% alcohol, which would definitely get you banned from Sr. Rita’s second-grade spelling bee. (It was totally rigged, and Sr. Rita was mean.) I’ll bet she never had a Ring Pop, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the can of Coke we all saw her drinking in the teacher’s lounge was actually wine-in-a can. Oh, how lovely it is to sip this wine and think of her! So, cheers, Sr. Rita! I finally made it, and I’m doing you proud. I may have never won a spelling bee, but I’ve managed to joined a gang (book club), and I’m sipping wine that tastes like a 7-Eleven candy dream.
Cecilia Kennedy once taught Spanish and English courses in Ohio for many years. She now lives in the Greater Seattle area, and writes horror stories. Her blog (Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks: https://fixinleaksnleeksdiy.blog/) chronicles her humorous (and perhaps scary?) attempts at cooking and home repair.