Nancy Roman


This week my husband and I took our annual micro-vacation. Neither of us likes to be away from home too long – for me, because I can’t bear to be without all my clothes and makeup and hair products, and for him, because he is afraid the pets will pine for him.

Sure enough, I didn’t like the sandals I brought, and although I thought that would be a nice excuse to buy some new ones, I couldn’t actually find any. Well, I did find some, but they were pricey and cute and didn’t match the one extra outfit I had brought, so then I would have need a new tee at the very least, if not a new bathing suit, since the cute sandals would have been atrocious with the bathing suit I had packed, and I only had forty-five minutes till the parking meter ran out and that was certainly not enough time to make a decision as monumental as shoes.

And on my husband’s side, sure enough, the cats pined away for a terrible, horrible one-and-one-half days without my husband, and the most docile of them even hissed at the kind neighbor who was feeding them. Of course, the cats can hardly endure my husband going to the bathroom, never mind Rhode Island.

But despite having the wrong sandals and fretting about the poor abandoned kitties, we had a really nice time.

We stayed at the marina in Newport, and it turned out the dockside bar was right outside our room. This was a sign, I was sure, that I was meant to relax.

So right after we didn’t purchase shoes, and didn’t purchase grey pearls (although hubby came close – he’s a sucker for beautiful jewelry – a cross I have had to bear all my married life – poor me) we strolled out the seven feet to the bar for a pre-dinner drink.

Two other couples soon joined us, and naturally my husband made new friends. My husband’s social skill is the only thing that keeps me from becoming a pathetic recluse.

Drinks all around. Everyone – but me – decided to have a Dark ‘N Stormy. This drink is made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum mixed with ginger beer. Everyone loved it. Made them feel like pirates. It’s definitely a pirate drink. Argggh.

I had a glass of merlot.

Merlot is not exactly the classiest wine. Real wine drinkers refer condescendingly to merlot. (Just think of insults poor merlot received in the movie Sideways.) But I like it. But as classless as merlot’s reputation is,  I still thought that perhaps a glass of wine made me look snooty as compared to Dark ‘N Stormy big tumblers.

I didn’t want to look snooty. I wanted to be a regular guy, like the Dark ‘N Stormiers. So I ridiculed the ostentatious display of the yachts in the marina. Yes, I made fun of the wasteful clueless rich. I don’t know why I did this. I don’t really have anything against rich people. I would like to be one myself.

And of course, it turned out that my husband’s new pals were the occupants of one of those yachts.

I didn’t exactly know how to redeem myself.

Maybe I could have a Dark ‘N Stormy.  We can all have that pirate drink and be happy pirates together.

But I just couldn’t.

My Polish grandfather (Dziadzi is Grandpa in Polish – think “Ja-Jee” for pronunciation) liked his drink. He was a shot-and-a-beer guy all the way. Any kind of whiskey – and then a beer chaser. Like most immigrants from eastern Europe, Dziadzi liked his beer warm. He kept his Schlitz in the bedroom closet – and in the summer, in his third-floor, bathroom-down-the-hall tenement, that was WARM.

When I was a teenager, my mother used to visit Dziadzi a few times a week. In summer, Mom often asked me to accompany her. Her motives were a little suspect. Dziadzi would always ask her to bring him a bottle, and she didn’t like to deny him the pleasure of a drink in his later years. But she worried about him drinking too much – and she knew of the risk of combining too much whiskey with the many medications he was taking.

So she would bring him a bottle – but she didn’t want to leave him with too much to drink alone after we had gone. So she’d say, “Come with me to see your grandfather. And have a drink with him.” I was still in high school.

So on a hot summer morning, we would drive to New Britain. And I would have a shot and a beer with my mother and my grandfather. She’d bring him a very small bottle, so we’d only be leaving him a little if we both had a drink too.

So at ten a.m., often twice a week, in an apartment already approaching 90 degrees,  I would have a shot of Jack Daniels and a warm Schlitz.

To this day,  45 years later, I only drink wine.

As much as I would like to drink  Dark ‘N Stormy like a  pirate with some nice rich people and be as sociable as my husband –


And a glass of merlot.





  1. I’m with you. I’d rather have red wine anytime instead of those mixed drinks and certainly not rum. Got sick on the stuff at a wedding one time, no ice and warm coke. Ugh.


  2. The pirate drink sounds yummy to me. Of course, I don’t drink wine. I haven’t been able to look wine in the eye since high school. Funny how our younger years can traumatize some great drinking moments in our adulthood.


    • For sure. I have sweet memories of drinking with my Grandfather, but I don’t want to actually taste that memory again.


  3. mercyn620

    Wine for me too, preferably white. I also like sangria (how uncool is that!). Sounds like you had a lovely mini-vacation.


    • Our little get-away was wonderful. Especially the food. And kite-flying! There is nothing like sailing a kite to bring stillness to your mind.


  4. I like the rum drinks during the summer when it’s hot and sunny. Otherwise, wine for me or I whine.

    Loved the story!


    • Thanks. Icy pina coladas are okay on a hot day…but I am a red wine woman.


  5. Christine

    I too remember having to drink a shot when we went to visit Dziadzi. I was older, of course, in college, but it was still not a drink I liked. I can remember trying to pour a little from my glass into the kitchen sink when he wasn’t looking. Now I will sometimes sip some high-quality rum straight, after I brought some back from Jamaica.


    • oh yeah, pouring a little down the sink was always my objective.


  6. Hubby and I aren’t drinkers, in fact I can’t remember the last time we had a beer. Sadly. I tend to get ‘high’ on the cork so as I know alcohol has a weird effect on me, I usually don’t touch it.
    Going back 30 odd years at my brother’s 40th birthday party, I was exceedingly happy, enjoying myself immensely and having a damn good time. Most people thought I was drunk from drinking either gin or vodka as my glass was forever full with clear liquid.
    I got caught in the kitchen refilling my glass………… from the kitchen tap.
    I had been warned by my GP that I may have had an ulcer, so I was drinking either water or milk! I was reacting to the company and atmosphere, and suddenly a lot of people realised that you didn’t need to have had a few to have a good time!


    • I’ve had that experience too! Of course, I start getting fuzzy after just one glass of wine, so it’s a good thing if I can get a buzz on from just the atmosphere.


  7. Ha. I almost fell off my chair when I read that the yacht belonged to that couple your husband befriended! Speaking of embarrassing moments! Wow. I don’t know how I would have tried to get out of that one. One of my favorite sayings is: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. But sometimes we can fall into the trap when we’re just trying to make conversation. As far as drinking – I don’t. My social life, as it is, is very casual, and the people I socialize with don’t seem to put much importance on alcoholic drinks. That’s OK with me. I just enjoy my companions, as many do. 🙂


    • One of the wives had pink hair and a tattoo – I just didn’t associate her with a yacht.


  8. Great story! By the way, I stayed up too late the other night to finish your book. I am a prolific reader, but can’t remember the last time I was so engrossed I chose reading over sleep…very enjoyable!


    • Thanks Cindy! I am thrilled that you liked it. I could use as many nice reviews as possible on Amazon, if you are so inclined…


  9. early in the day and 90 degrees?….woozy and fuzzy head for sure.


  10. I like anything with Ginger Beer! But, I am a Wine lover also so I might have been on your side. Since I am a very light drinker, I might have just had the Ginger Beer alone. Now as to making fun of the yachts, wow kinda stuck your foot in it on that one. 😉


    • It’s why my husband makes friends a bit more easily than I do.


  11. Your book is out? Why did I not know this?? Off to look for it.


  12. I just finished your book and I LOVED it, especially the protagonist’s twisted rationalizations, your wonderful character descriptions, and the ending. It had to end that way. I envy you for being so adept with both parts of your brain. You’re a wonderful writer and storyteller, plus an accomplished accountant. Damn. Good job. I really enjoyed this book. I even read into the night and gave up sleep for it. Please write a follow-up. I want to know what happens in the rest of Cynthia et al.’s lives.


    • I’m so glad you liked the book! And happy that you shared your feedback with me. I would love it if you could also post a review on Amazon… I love to write but the marketing aspect is really difficult for me, so your kind words would be a great asset.
      PS – I have another story in the works right now set around 1915, but I may get back to Cynthia and Shannon. They are still on my mind.


      • I already posted on Amazon. I’m so envious of you. I’ve always wanted to write, but how to write anything more than a short story confounds me. I really liked your book. I felt like I knew the characters. And when everything fell apart, it was justified. It had to fall apart; otherwise, the planets could never align again. But now that Cynthia has been publicly humiliated (has atoned for her sins), she can start fresh. I hope she does!


  13. BTW, I think you should ditch the cover of the pretty woman and draw a new cover. Illustrated covers attract attention (think of mystery novel covers). Romances, autobiographies, and self-help books have the cover that you have. You have a flair for illustration, so I think you should use your own drawing on a solid-colored background.


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