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April’s health observance is Alcohol Awareness Month. I’m leaving the writing on this particular subject to my good friend, Mary Schmidt. She’s got a take on it that I believe you will all enjoy.

Thank God I Can Drink!

Some frantic, fried days the cocktail hour shines as a beacon. As I deal with a client crisis, a computer blow-up or the meeting from Hell, I think to myself, “Thank GOD I can drink!” Because – of course – some people can’t, or rather, they can’t stop once they start. (Cue the classic B&W movie here, Days of Wine and Roses…NOT pretty. If you’ve not seen it, I highly recommend it, but be prepared for a realistic, unhappy ending). So, please note I’m not advocating alcoholism as a healthy lifestyle. Having grown up around hard core alcoholics (five uncles and one grandfather), I know that of which I speak. Really, really not pretty.

However, alcohol can be good for you, as numerous medical studies have found. Aside from the physical benefits, the ritual of the cocktail is soothing in and of itself. I mean, let’s face it, a “very dry, very cold martini up, three olives” is nothing more than a straight slug of hard liquor (with no ice to dilute the effect), but it sounds so civilized…and the drink, properly done, looks so wonderful. We’re also in very good company if we love martinis (both gin and vodka). FDR, Winston Churchill, James Bond, Julia Child, etc. etc. I love reading of FDR’s martini time ritual at the White House; through thick and thin, depression and war, that man knew how to end a stressful day!

Ah, then there’s the ritual of actually drinking the martini (or a glass of vino). At the tick of 5, I pour, stir, spear (the olives, the olives)…and then turn and salute my photos of Julia Child that hang in my kitchen. Bon Cocktail, Julia! One of those photos is of her motto (now emblazoned on the wall of the Smithsonian exhibit) “Above all, have a good time!” That silly little salute ritual always makes me smile. And, moderate drinking is a good time. It relaxes me and loosens up the synapses. I have some of my most creative ideas while sipping and watching the glorious New Mexico sunset. (And, yes, the ideas hold up to sober scrunity the next day.)

Another great thing about drinking (stay with me here) is gatherings with friends. We all loosen up and the laughter flows along with the vino. (Of course, at our age, a big night is TWO glasses…okay maybe three – over several hours – if we’re not driving.) And, I love that my friends know they can invite themselves for Friday martini time (“Hey, we’re calling to tell you we’ll be there in five minutes.”) They know I always have vodka (and – ahem – glasses) in the freezer and the BIG olives in the fridge. (Yes, we ALL salute Ms. Julia with the first sip.) More than once, ‘tooni time has turned into pizza time in my outdoor dining room with candles glowing and a soft night sky sparkling overhead. Hours of great conversation and building of good simple memories.

So, yes, Thank God I can drink. And, here’s hoping you can too. It’s good for you physically and psychologically.

photo of Mary

Mary is a business consultant who (obviously) doesn’t take herself too seriously.  She blogs at www.maryschmidt.com (business development) as well www.lipsticking.com (marketing to and by women) and All The Single Girlfriends <http://www.allthesinglegirlfriends.com/> (Fun for over 40s)