Monday, March 8, 2010

The Perfect Beer

It was the beginning of the floating season, Memorial Day weekend. Carl, one of my closest friends, and I had backpack into the Buffalo River located in northern Arkansas to a place called Horse Shoe Bend. The nights were still cool, the days warm, and the water cold. With the humidity low this time of year the sky was a deep shade of blue. We sat on the banks of the turquoise waters of the Buffalo watching the patched up well used canoes and their passengers float past. Many would stop and jump from the cliffs into the deep pool that we our selves would on occasion take a dip in or jump from the cliff to cool off in its brisk waters. The sun was warm and we had been soaking up its rays for hours, it had started to take its toll. We had water that we filtered from the river and though it was cold and refreshing to swim in; it tasted almost lukewarm when drank. A group of guys and girls in an assortment of canoes and rafts landed on shore. An older man paddling a sit-on-top kayak with a cooler well attached to the top followed just behind them. No doubt part of the group, he stuck out a little; he was older than the rest. The thick aluminum bottles were lifted from the ice water inside the faded red Coleman cooler. The old worn out hinges squeaked and the lid made a pop when it fell shut. The man turned and walked straight towards me and Carl. He was an aged man with dark weathered skin, flip flops and a worn out full brimmed kaki hat; his shirt was worn unbuttoned with a pack of smokes that sagged down his shirt pocket.” You fellows thirsty?” he said with a southern draw, we reached out and graciously accepted the cold full body bottles of Budweiser. The bottles were frosty; the cold metal stung my hands and the rim of the bottle stuck to my lips. Refreshing beer flowed into my mouth; I swished it from cheek to cheek as if it was a fine wine, then swallowed, held my breath just for a moment and exhaled a sigh. Carl and I look at each other and with a nod agreed that it was the best beer we had ever had. We drank it slowly enjoying every sip.

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