My senior year of college, Mardi Gras, and spring break coincided, so after celebrating a day or two of Mardi Gras, Sam, Aaron, and I went on a cruise with a few of our friends. One of the destinations was Cozumel, Mexico. While we were there, we tried Orendain Tequila. However, since the calligraphy of the company is written with a lot of flair and curlicues, it reads like Crendain. So, that’s what we called it. One of the varieties we sampled was Crema De Membrillo, which is tequila and essence of quince fruit. Membrillos became our rallying cry, and the symbol of our trip but also much more.
We ended up bringing a sample case back with us, and at one point just before we graduated, I suggested to Aaron that we bury one of the bottles in the backyard behind our house. We could return after we had graduated and dig it up. (Spoiler alert) In the film Fandango, about recent college graduates on one final road trip before going their separate ways at UT Austin in 1971, the five friends decide to go to Mexico to dig up Dom. Dom turns out to be a bottle of Dom Perignon which they had buried during an earlier foray into Mexico. By the way, I definitely recommend you watch the movie if you haven’t seen it. Aaron had thought our burying the Crendain was a good idea, so we measured a few paces behind the back door of our house, dug a pretty shallow hole, and buried the bottle.
The following year, both Aaron and I had returned to New Orleans. The point of our trip hadn’t been to reclaim the Crendain from the backyard, but since we were there, we figured on digging up the bottle. Thankfully, the house had been rented by friends of ours who still attended school, so seeing us in digging in the backyard late into the evening, while strange, wouldn’t have precipitated a call to the police. We found some tools. I don’t remember what we used. While I usually have a great memory for moments like these; it did take place twenty years ago, and I had been drunk at the time. I won’t even try to use the ruptured brain aneurysm as an excuse.
Regardless, we estimated where the treasure should have been and began digging. I don’t remember how long we were at it. However, I do remember our friends returned to the house, stopped by to greet us in the backyard, and I think applauded our efforts? In the end, we never found the bottle. We must have dug at least five different holes. Again, our exact conversation at the time has slipped my mind but I’m sure the phrase “I don’t remember it being this deep,” was probably uttered more than once.
Finally, we called it quits. It would have been great to have dug up the bottle, but looking back on it, the experience was worthwhile regardless. It’s a memory I will always have that I can fondly if somewhat hazily, recall. Along with Sam invoking Law 7, and many other experiences that are stories other days, it was a phenomenal time in my life. In the film Marathon Man, Szell says this to Babe “I envy you your school days. Enjoy them fully. It’s the last time in your life no one expects anything of you.”
Once I knew I’d write about Crendain, I texted Aaron who sent the following reply
“Membrillos are for memories! It’s still back there somewhere!”
Andrew Davie has worked in theater, finance, and education. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant and has survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. He has published short stories at various places, a chapbook with The Daily Drunk, crime fiction novellas with All Due Respect and Close to the Bone, and an upcoming memoir. His other work can be found in links on his website https://andrew-davie.com/