There is a new song out by Frankie Ballard called It All Started With A Beer. It’s weird when a song tells you a story that you already know, essentially recounts your own story to you. My husband and I have a couple songs that we consider “our” song. There’s Zac Brown Band’s Free, which we played during our first dance as husband and wife. There’s also Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline which my husband used to sing during karaoke when we first met and then sang to me, changing the words to Sweet Theresa Rice, right before we said our wedding vows. But this Frankie Ballard song is probably the nearest reflection of our story in a song.
It all started with a beer.
You might have gathered from some of my other posts that I married the head wrangler from the Arizona ranch. And I can recall the very first time we met as clearly as if watching it on a reel-to-reel. Picture me standing on my adobe-looking apartment porch, surveying my surroundings: cactus, orange glow of the evening sun, sand filled front yard. Coming down the road is a flatbed truck and a smiling man waving out the passenger side window. I waved back. Not because I was particularly friendly or knew who it was but because I was in a small town and I thought that’s what folks did in small towns. Also, folks, not people, live in small towns.
The waving man lived down the street a block in the guys’ apartment for the ranch. A few of us lived in town because there was no room on the ranch. The waving man walked down the street to our apartment. He introduced himself as the head wrangler for the ranch and said that me and the other operations girl should come back to their apartment to share a beer and then we’d all ride to the ranch together for dinner.
My new roomie and I agreed and walked down to their bachelor pad. The head wrangler handed me a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I had only just started liking beer that summer. Light beer. Beer only one step above water. And I only started drinking it because they didn’t serve hard alcohol at baseball games and I needed something to wash down my nachos and peanuts.
But I took the beer he handed me and put it to my lips. The horrendous atrocity that exploded in my mouth on that first sip was pretty memorable. It was so aggressive on my tongue. I tried another sip, hoping I would warm to the flavor with more exposure. T’was not to be. With each drink it seemed to get hoppier and dryer. I looked at the bottle. I hadn’t even put a dent in it, the beer remained almost full, but I couldn’t bring myself to drink the rest of it.
I held it out to my future husband (which I had absolutely zero inkling of at this point). “Umm, I’m sorry. I don’t like this beer.”
Always jovial and friendly, he took it back from me, more than happy to drink the rest of it for me. Didn’t want to see a perfectly good beer go to waste. This first little interaction also planted the seed for my nickname for the season. He started calling me HM, for high maintenance. He wasn’t wrong.
I never did develop a taste for anything much beyond ciders and light beer. But man, am I so thankful for that first funny little interaction. So the song “It All Started With A Beer” Reminds us both of that warm evening 10 years ago, when our own story started with a beer and led us on a journey we never could have expected.
I would absolutely love to hear some of your “It all started with a beer” stories! Please share! And I hope, just like the song says, you have more highs than lows, more smiles than tears.