In "The Way It Was", 1-Adeline (Addie) Kizer Dodd 1855-1937, 1-Joseph Hoffman Dodd 1852-1937, 2-Joseph Keeley (Keel) Dodd 1898-1991, 2-Minnie Anna (Sister) Dodd Garris 1874-1957, 2-Thomas Augustus (Tom) Hill 1875-1939, 2-William B. Garris 1879-1949, 3-Wilhelmina (Bee) Garris King 1918-2007, Bee Stories, FAMILY: MATERNAL LINE (BEE), FAMILY: PATERNAL LINE (BEE), STORIES on July 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

You probably think that I will give Biblical reasons or not drinking alcohol in any  form and with no exceptions.   There are certainly  many good references – “Wine is a mocker”.  Then there is your influence to be reckoned with.  It is better  that a millstone be tied around your neck  and you to be cast into the sea , than lead  one of the little ones astray.  Then   there is the reference of not is eating meat or drinking.  if it causes someone else to stumble,  I shall not do it.  I think that this would be enough that I would never drink but add to that all the misery that you have known caused by alcohol.  I have been asked “Do you not drink because you are a deacon?”  My answer is “I never drank before I was a deacon”.

The big reason that I have never drank is I firmly believe that if I drank , I would become an alcoholic.   My beloved grandpa which I have written about before was an alcoholic.   He was the son of a Baptist minister and the richest and the most influential man in our community.   He was not like the alcoholics that you hear about “down and out” but more of a “UP and in”.  My grandma was a remarkable woman ( a solid rock) and kept everything running  regardless of him.  He had failed in business early in life  so when he started back he put everything in Grandma’s name and that is why it was the A.D. Dodd Store until they died . ( Adeline Delilah). When Keel was born, Grandpa was at Keeley Institute getting a cure  and Grandma named Keel after the Institute – her hopes were so high that he would be better.  He had been of several times before but never in my lifetime.  He would vow that he would never take another drink in his life, but slowly run back into old friends and drift back.  It was definitely something that he could not control.

If we were over to their house and he would start drinking, Mamma would gather us up and take us home immediately.  On election days, I was not allowed to go over there, as Mamma knew that he would be drinking.  The election polls were in his store and he would stay up until ever vote in the county was counted. By that time, he would be very intoxicated.  He was the man the politicians would get to carry the polls for them  and he could do that because he had much influence .  I never saw him drunk.  On holidays, and when the relatives were down there, some of the son-in-laws would drink with him and it would usually start late in the afternoon  when we would make our exits.  Uncle Tom and my Daddy , of course, did not drink with them.

This was back in the days when the church censored what you did.  Grandpa was a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church  and a very heavy giver to church  causes – In fact he just about supposed that church .  They told him  that he could either quit drinking or they would kick him out of the church.  He asked for his letter and placed it in a trunk at home.   He continued with his heavy support of that church as long as he lived.  They never refused his money.  This was a heartbreak for Mamma.  I believe Grandpa is in Heaven – His one sin was he could not control his drinking.

I loved my grandpa very much and I have always felt I inherited a lot of his traits.  He loved life as I love life.  He knew how to take a dollar and turn it into money.  I firmly believer that if I drank I would never be able to control my drinking like he was never able to control his drinking.  I took a vow.  I would never take that first drink to find out  and I would protect my children in the same manner.  They in turns are protecting my grandchildren

– “The Way It Was,” Chapter 29: “Why I oppose drinking alcohol in any form,” 1999

  1. Carey, thank you for this!

  2. I never knew this until I was an adult and read the first edition of Momma’s memoirs. We also never talked about the Keely Institute, or her grandpa Dodd, other than he was rich. And of course being raised in First Baptist, there was no question of their position.

    Along those lines, there were several times that both Momma and Daddy had strong differences of opinion with other folks at FBC. I asked her one time why she didn’t just leave and find another church (I understood later that Daddy wanted to leave more than once). She referred to her Grandpa Dodd’s being asked to leave the church, and said she made a vow that she would never “be run out of a church!” I did learn of that when I was a teen.

  3. Daddy said he was convinced that Uncle Happy died of drinking, although his medical condition was congestive heart failure. Granddaddy (+Marion) King did enjoy a little bourbon, and Sonny has a glass of wine in the evening. I never really knew if Daddy had a strong conviction on alcohol either way, but he at least certainly honored Momma’s committment.

  4. I always definitely knew Momma’s position on alcohol consumption, but I don’t think I knew about her Granddaddy Dodd’s alcoholism until very late in her life. I certainly had not heard the story about Keel being named after an alcohol rehabilitation center until I read Momma’s history.

    Momma told me that she had a “firm agreement” with Daddy before they were married that there would NEVER be any alcohol in the house. And I know that she had a similar agreement with Granddaddy King because there was never any alcohol served even to the adults when we were visiting in Columbia as children. I did see some liquor in the refrigerator when Tom and I visited Granddaddy after we were married so that was the first time I knew he did drink “in our absence”.

    I know Momma was worried about the impact of alcohol on anyone with any natural depression, and I have seen enough of depression to agree with her. She also had a friend at FBC who was an alcoholic and it was a sad thing. Since I have no “happy” memories of drinking, I have only the impressions of teenage deaths that were alcohol related and I own fears over depression that made me happy with my upbringing and committed to raise my own children in a similar environment. I have had two friends (one from church and one from work) who were murdered by their husbands under the influence of alcohol. I am really very happy with my alcohol free life. My doctor always smiles at me when he asks about my alcohol consumption and I tell him I don’t drink at all.

    I know it has been hard to find friends that are really fun to hang out with who do not drink, but we have several dear church friend couples who do not, and it is always most comfortable to be with them.

    It is funny. In my many business travels, I always noticed who was drinking at dinner. Some times I felt closer to the Moslems in the dinner meeting because they along with me would be ordering soft drinks. I occasionally would order a very expensive dessert because I knew we would be splitting a bill equally that was heaving loaded with alcohol expense – none of which was mine.

    I am always very happy to have family gatherings without alcohol, but I realize that as the family extends and extends, I may no longer find that possible. Although it saddens me to find alcohol in the frig, I love you all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: