Years ago, while driving through Southern Minnesota to meet my future in-laws, my wife issued me a warning.
“Don’t be a snob,” she said.
I didn’t think I was. I told her that.
“I know you,” she said, “you are going to grumble about the coffee and the beer.”
“What makes you say that?”
She took her eyes off the road long enough to fix me in her gaze. “Folgers and Bud Light?”
When we arrived they offered me a cup of Folgers, later they offered me a can of Bud Light and I graciously accepted both. After all, I didn’t want to come off as a snob. A few months later, whey they came to visit us, my wife had another warning.
“They are not going to like your coffee nor your beer.”
“Wait a minute,” I said, “when we went to their house, I accepted what they had to offer, why can’t they accept what I have to offer?”
It only seemed fair.
“Because real people don’t drink what you drink,” she said.
I simply could not understand why what was good for the goose was not good for the gander – but now I do.
After we moved to the land of weak coffee and watery beer, I came to appreciate a place where everyone has known everyone else for all their lives and where everyone’s parents knew everyone else’s parents for all of their lives. It is place where faith and tradition mean something and while people are more than willing to accept change, they ask that change prove itself first.
It is not that new things are bad. Far from it. But newness can be addicting and like any addiction – become an end in itself. Craft beer is great – but do we really have to add pumpkin spice, cranberries and God knows what else?
Where does such madness end?
So when someone offers you a pumpkin-spice/cranberry beer topped with organic cracker crumbs and a shot of espresso – the logic of digging in your cultural heels at Folger’s and Bud Light becomes abundantly clear.
I still drink the same snobby stuff that I always have and frankly I don’t care what anyone thinks about it – and people around here are good with that.
Perhaps it is because I have proved myself. Not that I have proven myself to be much of a person rather I have proven myself to be not all that bad.
There are still those who say my tastes in coffee and beer are snobbish but at least it is a snobbishness they have become familiar with.
But times and tastes are changing.
I don’t have to drive as far to find my favorite coffee and the local liquor store stocks some pretty good craft beer and a lot of people that I know around here are drinking snob coffee and snob beer. Still, I must remain mindful.
Recently, a neighbor came over and I offered him a beer.
“I dunno,” he said, “the stuff you drink tastes like what I used to Sealcoat my driveway.”
“Yeah,” I told him, “and the stuff you drink has less taste than my well water.”
“I told you what to do about your well,” he said.
“It’s what I wanted to talk about,” I told him, “I got a case of Bud Light cooling in the garage, let’s head in there and you can tell me all about it.”