Journey Through Cocktail Hour

Katherine - Eastborough, Kansas
Entered on March 2, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

I believe in gin and tonics.

Ever since I can remember, whenever my grandparents visit, we have cocktails in the evening, with gin and tonics. They come about four times a year, and stay for a long weekend. Even though my parents drink the gin and tonics enthusiastically when my grandparents visit, I cannot remember a time outside of their visits that there have been gin and tonics, or even cocktails. When the grownups drink the gin and tonics, they have elaborate discussions, from my impending college choices to the political races of the time. However, as I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed changes in the gin and tonics time.

The gin and tonics time is hardly about the alcohol. It’s used for more practical reasons, and sometimes provides humor. I’ve had bizarre dreams, involving enormous gin and tonics parties, with not only my grandparents, but hundreds of my closest friends, all with a gin and tonic in hand, while they discuss matters of the upmost importance. The drink also provided a more practical use, when my grandmother, Bama, traveled to Africa, and the quinine in the tonic water helped ward off malaria. The gin and tonics time doesn’t focus on the drink, but more on the time and discussion that occurs by default.

I’m the oldest grandchild, and my role carries responsibility to the family. I’ll lead the way for my cousins to becoming grownups, as I’ve led my sisters. This role shows importance during gin and tonics time. As I’ve grown older, my opinions, and comments in the discussion have had more importance. The discussion has shifted, and the grownups have begun to respect my opinions more. I have become more cognitive and aware of the world, shown through my additions to the discussion, rather than saying whatever cheeky thing comes to mind, just for attention. Although I can’t drink the gin and tonics yet, I’ve seen my role in the gin and tonics discussion morph into a more important one, as I’ve grown older.

My second cousins, Bex, Jojo, and Suze have also gone through the same rite of passage. I can remember playing in the countryside in Wales with them, running down the hills, but now, they’re older, participating in the discussion and drinking the gin and tonics. Their opinions carry the same weight as any of the other grownups. Well, maybe not as much as my granddad’s, but nonetheless, they are grownups. Although I’m the oldest, I’ve noticed my sisters and cousins start to join the gin and tonics discussions. It’s more difficult for my boy cousins to control their enthusiasm enough to be taken seriously, but they’ve begun to learn.

As I grow older, I await not only my near approaching graduation and college experience, but also my rite of passage with my first gin and tonic. Although this may blur the discussion slightly, the drink represents the overall respect as a fully grown adult, with an equal voice in the discussion, and in the family.