Holy Spirits by Amy Stonestrom

         I am still eating as my husband asks the bartender where we should go for Irish music. I am listening to them, sort of. Todd raves about our meal and asks whether the bartender owns the pub.

         “No, but I manage things. The owner isn’t here much. He is the Guinness distributor for the entire Dingle peninsula.”

I look up and notice the bartender beaming with pride.

         I don’t register a connection between this man and me but I probably should. Todd does though and he turns and points at me. I flash my best Minnesota Nice at the bartender, mouth full of rocket salad and turbot.

         “My wife’s dad used to be the liquor distributor for her town.” Todd says. “He brought livestock down to the stockyards and brought liquor back up in the empty semi-trailer.”

         Ah, yes. Dad did do that. I nod while swallowing the fish and taking a swig of cider. After he’d spend the night in South St. Paul at the shippers club where he paid a dollar to sleep in a room filled with rows of bunks that cradled snoring truck drivers, Dad would bring back a trailer full of booze to several municipal liquor stores along the way.

         His last stop was “The Lic,” our town’s on and off sale gathering spot. During the summers from age six until I was ten or eleven Dad would stop at the house to pick me up with the semi and we would deliver freight. I would ride the five blocks with the bottles of brandy, whiskey, gin and vodka clinking together and rattling in their boxes after hoisting myself up into the red trailer still tinged with a faint smell of straw and manure. He would buy me a bottle of Black Jack sour with the bits of pulp on on the bottom. Fizz and tart mixed on my tongue as I sat on a red vinyl bar stool while he and the manager unloaded the cargo. When they were done, our town was fully armed and ready to face another weekend.

         The bartender grinned at me. Proud to know me. “More important than the doctor and priest then, your da.”

I laugh and nod. I had never given Dad’s role that much gravitas.

         “I suppose so,” I said not wanting to break it to him that Mom and Dad were Lutheran— damned protestants—or where on the town’s totem pole my mother placed the priest.

         “I know so,” the bartender said and by his look, I could tell he knew for certain.

BIO: Amy Stonestrom is an MFA candidate in Bay Path University’s Creative Nonfiction program. She is also part of the year-long Memoir Writer’s Project at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Her work will be published in an upcoming issue of Brevity magazine early 2019.

Photo: Sarah Leamy. www.sarahleamy.com

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