I had my first beer in the middle of nowhere, otherwise known as Minburn, IA. I had it while sitting outside of an old farmhouse that was very literally falling down around me. I had it between corn fields, next to grain silos. I had it while sitting around a bonfire. I had my first beer in a cloud of dust that a passing truck left behind on that gravel road. I had it while sitting next to my best friend, while she was having hers.
We had our first beers while I was developing a crush on a boy I never should have shared my name with, but we eventually drank him away. We had our first beers when we should have been at school, and we had our twelfth beers when we should have been at work. We had our first beers with a group of people we barely knew, people who probably wouldn’t remember us today. We eventually drank them away too.
We had our first beers while we were learning. We learned who we couldn’t trust. We learned who we shouldn’t lust after. We learned how far my ’98 Monte Carlo would go on empty. We learned that college wasn’t for us, and that working probably wasn’t either. We learned that the boys from our hometown were not the crowd for us.
We had our first beers when everything seemed hard, because we were 19 and everything is hard at 19. We grabbed can after can from that flimsy cardboard box until the hard stuff seemed a little easier, and then we threw the box into the fire with the rest of our worries. We missed a lot of work and a lot of sleep. We spent a lot of mornings with our heads in the toilet. We spent a lot of 3:00 am’s in the McDonald’s drive-thru waiting on breakfast burritos, but I wouldn’t trade a single case of Busch Light for those nights.