Because Tara and Nathanael were married at Camp Gorhmley Christian Camp, the wedding merriment did not include alcohol, rather, in it’s place the reception party provided copious amounts of local, hand-crafted, Big E root beer. Now, there is a certain kind of silliness that happens on the dance floor after a couple glasses of beer or wine, but there is a whole other kind of silliness that follows from drinking lots and lots of sugary, sweet root beer! That night the sassafras kegs had flowed freely, but by the next morning there was still more left-over.
Tara and Nathanael sent a keg of root beer home with me to share with Beloved. We made vanilla floats both before and after service that Sunday, Rosewood drank their fill and there was still more left-over. It was like the proverbial loaves and fishes. We could not seem to reach the end of the barrel.
So, the next day, Labour Day, we decided to make a root beer stand, setting out a table on the sidewalk in front of Rosewood where thousands of cars pass by each day. A sign sat on top the table that read “Relax! Have some root beer.” It was hot out and the root beer was chilled and ready to refresh. Perched up on the front steps, we watched car after car drive by. Some looked, some smiled, some raised eyebrows, but few stopped. What was it about this free gift that seemed so suspicious? I imagined all the people driving by, some returning from a weekend at the lake, some headed out for an afternoon hike. Everyone was trying to get somewhere and soak up the few rays of sunshine the summer had offered us. The few that actually did stop, said, “Whoa! This stuff is amazing!” After four hours only about nine or ten people had enjoyed a glass of foamy goodness, and still the keg felt practically full.
I thought “Where could I take this on Labor day where people would enjoy it? Who would be working on Labor day?” Moses and I threw the keg in the back of the Volvo and headed towards our house. I needed to pick a few things up at Home Depot on the way back, and as we pulled into the parking lot there stood a group of a dozen or more men baking in the heat. “Who’s that, Papa?” “Moses! Of course! Those men are looking for work… on labor day!” We pulled over and five men immediately came to my door. “Do you need two? Do you need two?” The loudest guy asked. “Um. No, but I have root beer.” I said. The men were crowding around our car now. They all looked confused and were speaking to one another in Spanish. I opened up my trunk to show the keg of root beer and asked, “Who wants some ice-cold root beer?”
Laughter erupted. They laughed like little kids and instantly there was line. There were seconds and thirds and fourths. The wedding celebration was spilling out onto those waiting for work on a day in which most people had the luxury of not working. The men drank and drank some more. And still there was more left-over.