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CFO, Ballantine and Martin

Mom was an expert when it came to managing household money. As they built their house, and for the next two years, her earnings from the dress factory went toward purchasing concrete for the porches, garage, and sidewalks for the house on the corner of Walnut and Lackawanna.

Mom told me, “My happiest day was when I knew my paycheck would no longer go toward the concrete.” Mom didn't know how to write a check, and, she never stepped inside the bank, but she was the Chief Financial Officer of our household.

Ballantine beer was my Dad’s treat. He carefully emptied the bottle into the icy cold glass mug---Beer Drinkers Make Better Lovers---a gift from Mom that was kept in the freezer when not in use.

A perfect head of foam appeared on top of his beverage. He purchased Ballantine by the case from a distributor in Mayfield. I loved going with him on these runs because I liked the smell of stale hops in the building. Of course, I didn’t know what hops were until I was much older.

A school night had me sitting at the kitchen table, doing homework. Dad asked Mom for five dollars for a case of beer. She told him, “We don’t have it this week. Whatever’s left in the case, you’ll have to stretch it out a few more days.”


He did not question her answer. Dad worked every day and did all maintenance on the house, never complaining. Surely he deserved his Ballantine. Couldn't my mother see that? "Meanie," I mumbled to myself.

Later that week, I was peeling vegetables at the sink when Dad came up from the basement. He sat on the rocking chair and gloomily told Mom the car needed something or other and it would cost six dollars plus tax. He didn’t know where they would get the money to replace the part. I didn’t either since I had just asked Mom for seventy-five cents to purchase a new 45RPM record, and her answer was 'no.'

Mom disappeared into their bedroom and reappeared with a smile on her face. When she handed Dad the seven one-dollar bills, Dad was surprised, “I thought we didn’t have money for beer?”

Mom replied, “That’s right, we didn’t.” She resumed stirring whatever was in the pot on the stove. Dad shook his head in disbelief, grinned, and returned to the basement garage.

Ballantine was the preferred beer of Martin Crane on the television show, Frasier. Dad pointed this fact to me when the episode aired on Valentine’s Day. He thought it cool that his beer was featured on a TV show. Dad also thought it was important to mention that Martin Crane drank from a can, not a frosty glass beer mug.

a true story

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