Junior high helps beer

Driving through my hometown the other day brought back a flood of memories, some of them beer-related, and others not.

Many of the beer-related memories are remember the time again and again. But one remembrance came through the back door, as I drove past Mr. Jones’ house. Mr. Jones, along with Schoolhouse Rock and Mrs. Robinson, was the backbone of my social studies education. Specifically, I recall how boring the ol’ “how a bill becomes a law” stuff was back in the seventh grade.

But years later, I would appreciate all of those lessons. I would put them into practice. For the betterment of beerdom, a collective we would change a law. On August 13, 2005, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed House Bill 392 into law. Pop the Cap popped the cap.

I don’t mean to imply that I was an integral part of the PTC organization. Sean Wilson, NC beer hero, took the helm, with numerous lieutenants closer and more important than my role. I was a letter writer. I called my congressmen. I called other people’s congressmen. I hassled my friends and family. For convenience, I wrote some of their letters. Come to think of it, I was an integral part of the movement. Without all those letters and phone calls by the many like-minded grunts across the state, all of Sean’s hard work would have been for naught.

Each letter I posted felt very satisfying. Even better was the day I took off from work to lobby. I certainly had Mr. Jones and Mrs. Robinson in mind that day. I knew they’d be proud, even if I was working on beer laws rather than a way to improve working conditions in Chinese factories. Oddly, I felt a great swell of pride in my chest. I was participating in the system. It’s so much easier to just complain, as you may know.

Anything I understood about the process, I owe to my junior high and high school teachers. As the saying goes, there are two things you don’t want to see made: sausage and laws. I found that to be true. Due to some of the unreasonable opposition we faced, it was indeed ugly. At times it was scary. But in the end, a lot of hard work brought our dreams to fruition.

Man, did that sausage taste good.


Mr. Jones is now retired. His wife, Mrs. Jones (my reading teacher), is still at it.

Mrs. Robinson teaches at the University of Northern Iowa.

I rented Schoolhouse Rock a few months ago.

Miss Nook ain’t teaching English anymore. She’s the superintendent. (I saw her the other day, and remain her favorite student of all time.)

Ralph Waldo Emerson died in 1882.

Lieutenant Colonel Clark is somewhere in Arizona.

My gramps is retired in Florida.

Raise a pint to your teachers!


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