Short Stories - non fiction

JACKIE, BRADOR and the Night the Dog Ran Away

Remember “Welcome Back Carter” with Vinnie Barbarino? The first time I saw that show was at Jackie’s house, I was excited because she had invited me over for dinner, and we were heading out to a party. That night was also the first time I had “gourmet” Kraft Dinner with extra cheese and tomato juice. We listened to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and practiced our dance moves before we went out, so much fun!

Jackie was popular, and pretty, and we had fun together. I loved hanging out with her, and I still do. To this day, I always make sure I’ve swallowed what’s in my mouth before she speaks, because the conversation is 75% laughter. The kind where you spit out your drink and fight back tears and stomach pain. Oh, the stories I could tell….well here is one of them!

We used to spend the weekends going to the local parties which were held at some of the nearby park chalets. The park parties were a total blast. They were for underage kids; they were great because they gave us a place to go. We buried our beer in the snow to keep it cold, but in theory, these parties were “dry”. 

That’s how I met Gordie Shipman. Jackie and I were at the Elm Park disco and I met this really nice guy. After the disco, we went to his house and watched Saturday Night Live. That was the first time I’d ever seen that show. I thought Gordie was “all that” ….and SNL was so cool. What a night!

Some time later, maybe a couple of weeks, Gordie invited Jackie and I to a party at “The Barn”. This was an old abandoned barn that lent itself well to underage partiers. It was situated in a field not far from a Deli called “Chenoy’s”. The barn truly was a happening place.

Gordie was made arrangements to get Jackie and I some beer. “How much beer do you want?” he asked. “24” we replied ….)clearly we had no idea) Gordie talked us down to splitting a six pack, but we insisted that it be “Brador” because it contained more alcohol. 

We got all dolled up and headed to the party at the barn. We arrived at 8pm. We each had one beer. We were drunk by 8:30 pm. 

The party continued. 

What fun we were having! This Brador is amazing! Wow….time for round two!

We used the rest rooms at Chenoy’s  frequently that night, and with each visit, we were staggering more and more. Remember, we had a limit of three beers a piece, but we were both very small, skinny girls. And we had no experience drinking.

After we finished the third of the three beers, we were basically two sheets to the wind. This was way more alcohol than we could handle. 

Gordie walked us half way home, and when he bid us farewell, he dumped me. Wow! That was a bummer! Talk about a buzz kill! I really liked this guy, but clearly something had gone off the rails. Perhaps it was the Brador? 

When we got home, we both heading upstairs and went straight to bed. 

A while later, my mother, who was clearly angry, invited me into the kitchen for a chat. She took the time to close the noisy sliding doors to the kitchen, which sealed us in the room for the interrogation. That was never where any of us kids wanted to be….ever.

My Mother, a.k.a. Private Investigator, had determined that we were drunk. How? Well for starters, we did not close the back door when we entered the house. So….the dog ran away. (not good…note to self…close back door). Secondly, we did not stop in to have a chat before bed. Now this pointer was key in my future as a partier because hence forward, no matter what condition I was in, I ALWAYS made a point of stopping in to see her for a chat. Wow! what an incredible learning experience the night proved to be!

To recap, key take-aways from that night where: 1) stay away from Brador; 2) always enter house AFTER your drunken friends so you can ensure the door is closed ; 3) make sure the dog is in the house before closing said door; and 4) always stop in and speak to mom. I am not even joking when I say that these 4 points were rules which I lived by in order to avoid the interrogation room.

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”      

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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