Between them they had been in this little Georgia town over 300 years. The five of them slowly filed into The Whiskibar, men first and the two ladies bringing up the rear. None knew what to expect. Only the eldest, Esau, had ever been in a bar before and that was during the first days of the Vietnam war. This group did not want to go into this establishment, but it was the last place to look.
This used to be a dry county, but stagflation for the 1970s brought change. When they were in their thirties, each of them had individually fought against liquor being served in this town and county. They lost those battles, but the cause brought them together and formed a lasting fellowship based on their common belief.
These were very good people who would be the first to sacrifice to help the homeless, the poor and sick. Those who touched alcohol were another matter. Over the decades to follow, among themselves they would talk dispassionately about the sinfulness of drink, but each of them despised those who partook. It was almost like a secret society where the depth of their hate was never honestly spoken of and as such, their common bond was never fully explored.
The Whiskibar opened soon after the five became friends. Other bars had a difficult time making it in this town. None survived but this one. The five friends never spoke of The Whiskibar, because it reminded them of their defeat so long ago. They never understood why this bar lasted when so many others quickly failed.
Each of the five had a vision of The Whiskibar being dark, smokey, smelly, filthy and mildewed with debauched posters of women on the wall. When they walked in, they found it to be bright, clean and in good repair. Ruth was taken aback by how nice it seemed inside; respectable even. It made the place seem even more wicked to have such a pleasant facade. When Rachel saw racks of unholy spirits on the wall she squeezed the family bible in her hand and gently called the name of her saviour under her breath.
A young blonde waitress greeted the group with a huge smile, “Welcome to The Whiskibar, table for five today? Three of the five were shocked and to various degrees offended that this impudent girl would think that they were there to drink. The other two didn’t take the query so personally.
Caleb answered the young lady, “Actually, we are here looking for our friend Adam. He lost his son several weeks ago and were are afraid he has slipped off the wagon. Would you mind if we searched for him here?”
“Oh my goodness! Of course not, please do. Let me know if you need any help”, the young lady replied in an accent sweeter than any Georgia peach. The concern, warmth and kindness in her voice was unexpected and touched the hearts of the vistors.
The five of them walked together through the front of the bar into the backroom. They were mixed in their feelings as they so desperately wanted to find their friend, but at the same time, did not want to find him here.
Jacob became confused when he noticed a huge chalkboard that listed the available selection of Whiskies and the corresponding prices. The names were foreign and he couldn’t make sense of the pricing. The prices varied so much that he pointed and whispered, “is that by the bottle?” Esau answered, “it’s by the shot-glass”. Jacob didn’t believe people would pay the money listed for a single drink and he figured Esau didn’t know what he was talking about.
Rachel was amazed to see people eating. She never knew that food was served here. She walked passed a couple sitting at table. The man was eating a pasta dish with shrimp in a red sauce and some type of meat in it. It looked and smelled delicious. The lady was eating something beautiful. It was like a tower with something yellow on top of a meat. She wanted to ask what it was, but there were many more reason why she did not want to. As she noticed that a mug of beer sat across from a glass of zinfindel, the words of Isaiah came loudly into her mind, “Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine”. She didn’t know why this message came into her head or how the words applied, but they rang loud and clear as bell inside her head. For the rest of her life, she would speak of this moment with clear recollections of the table, the food, the drinks and the words that rang out in her mind.
The blonde waitress met the group in the back and although she knew the answer, she politely asked if they had any luck. Esau shook his head no. The waitress smiled and innocently asked if they wanted to have some coffee and some of their special whiski-cheesecake. Jacob, the largest of the five, was tempted. It was not in his nature to turn down sweets and cheesecake was his biggest weakness. The name Whiski in the title put him off and he declined on behalf of the group. Caleb smiled at the irony of Jacob turning down the offer. “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control“, he tought to himself. Caleb was proud of his old friend who for the first time in 30 years demonstrated self-control over his sweet-tooth. I guess it’s just easier to say no when it’s about God, Ruth commented while winking at Rachel.
Before leaving, the five spread out and took one more look around the bar. If Adam wasn’t there, they had no ideas of left of where to look. They walked out of The Whiskibar dejected. This was to be their first time and last time in this place. For the rest of their collective lives, they would never come closer to distilled spirits than they did today.