Do you remember the very first company Christmas Party you went to?  The one you bought a fancy dress for, also got a new haircut or style, then filed and polished your nails the day before and refused to do anything that might break one.  The one that made you think you were so grown up and mature.  This happened for me when I was a senior in high school.  My “sweetheart” had graduated the year before and was working locally until his draft number came up.

A couple of days before the party he got a bad cold.  Of course he still went to work, but he decided he was too sick to go to the party because he was coughing all the time and had a slight fever.  I had been waiting for that party for over a month and I was devastated by his decision.  Luckily his boss lived across the street from me.  (And his boss’s daughter was a very close friend.)  I went to the neighbors to complain and share my misery.

The boss, Don, was a very understanding man with five kids of his own.  He was also very practical.  His reasoning we should still go to the party went something like this.  “Don’t you still have to eat?  Don’t people sometimes have a little brandy when they have a cold? Don’t a lot of cough drops taste like mint?”  Yes was the answer to all three questions.  The next instruction was, “You tell your boyfriend all of those things, then tell him to drink Stingers at the party.  I’m sure he’ll feel better.”  I had to ask what a Stinger was.  He explained it was a drink made with brandy and crème de menthe.

I went home to make the phone call that included the information and some begging.  We went to the party.  I found out it was just a bunch of people standing around talking, most of whom I didn’t know.  I don’t remember any details about the food or door prizes, but I remember Stingers are a great aid for the common cold.

Footnote: the legal age to consume liquor was 18 at the time in New York state.