I’m not sure about the folks in Europe, but we have a game here in America that we like to play while traveling. It’s called the Alphabet Game. The game is fairly easy to play. Essentially, each player tries to be the first one to discover all twenty-six letters of the alphabet sequentially using only the passing road signs. It’s not necessarily all that much fun. It’s more of a way for passengers to pass the time, but for the driver, someone who is already bored out of his mind, it can be a diverting hoot. Having said that, and knowing the over lording nature of the American nanny state, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the Alphabet Game becomes illegal because it is, in fact, distracting to the driver.
“License and registration, please sir… Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“Um, because I was speeding?”
“No. You were distinctly searching for a ‘Q’ in a ‘No Alphabet Game’ zone.”
There are variations to the game. Some folks start in reverse order. Others allow for participants to consider license plates in the search. In my family, that’s only allowed when the game begins to lag because we are traveling through the purgatorial North Country between home and Traverse City where certain letters are nearly impossible to find, unless of course you have the eyesight of a hawk and can read the DNR tag on the ear of a bear crossing the road. In that case, it certainly counts, but you have to have photographic evidence.
Anyway, a friend of mine posted on Facebook the image of a sign that someone at the local road commission in some desolate region of America decided to fashion for the weary travelers. Great idea. And what a kindness! In fact, I’ll bet that everyone passing that sign while in the midst of a deadlocked Alphabet Game beginning to feel a little more hell than heaven, well, I’ll bet when they behold the missive, it will feel a little like winning the lottery, or maybe what it’s like to have an angel visit your jail cell with some keys and a divine pardon.
“Here, my child. Take these letters. You are free from the Alphabet Game. Go and sin no more.”
I was searching my cabinet for a nightcap, probing the depths for something less familiar than the usual suspects, a lesser acquaintance to engage and enliven my spirit while helping to ease me from the day’s cell into the morrow’s.
Well in the back and out of sight, I stumbled upon a bottle of the Ardbeg Perpetuum.
“Wow. Where’d you come from?”
I didn’t remember owning the Perpetuum, and discovering it as I did (or maybe rediscovering it), I felt as though I’d won a little contest. I guess I must have purchased this particular edition offered in honor of Ardbeg’s 200th anniversary alongside some other editions with the intention of eventually writing a review, but somewhere in the midst of life as usual, I’d lost it to the rear of the collection.
“Thank you, Lord. Thank you,” and I was swift to assert my authority as victor.
The nose was less charred than I expected, giving a lighter and familiar smoldering vestige which, for me, was distinctly reminiscent of the time spent burning the previous year’s Palm Sunday branches in order to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday. It’s a pleasant smell – a solemn smell.
Compared to most other Ardbeg editions, the Perpetuum’s palate was surprisingly light, giving over some campfire smoke fanning along on a coating of a gently sweetened, but still salty, marinade.
The finish was medium and edgy, leaving some singed wood and smoky sourwood honey.
I suppose that this particular edition turned out to be a little like that generous sign by the roadway, except I should say that it was a little more than just a relief from a lag in traveling amusement, it was a respite from a momentary delay in life.
Thank you, Lord. Thank you.