I'm happy to report that my family turned the anniversary of Dad's death into a celebration yesterday. That meant including a ceremonial 12-pack of Blatz in the proceedings.
My Dad and Blatz had a special relationship for many years, until "Milwaukee's Finest'' was sold and the brewing process was moved to La Crosse. Even then Dad showed loyalty to his favorite brand while many of the Whitehall locals -- certain that the taste had been compromised -- protested by switching to Pabst Blue Ribbon or some other previously inferior brew.
This allowed him to continue the time-honored ritual of having kids and grandkids sit in his lap for their first sip of beer -- a Blatz! (To which most of them made a face that said Yuck!!!) Eventually Dad, a renowned penny-pincher, would succumb to the "value beers'' so he could save a buck.
(Many of us didn't even realize Blatz was still being sold until we went hunting for it last year. We finally found it at a tavern in Independence, which provided a nice taste of irony: Independence, with its impressive strip of bars on the main drag, was a big PBR town back in the day.)
The picture of Mom included here is priceless. Rarely have we seen her hold a can of beer, much less put one to her lips. She tolerates light drinking only because she learned to tolerate her husband's affection for beer -- and that took years of practice by both of them. So talk about taking one for the team!
Now here's my humble and belated contribution: the Blatz jingle, at least the words as I remember them. No doubt Dad would have been singing this with the rest of us:
I'm from Milwaukee and I ought to know
It's draft-brewed Blatz beer wherever you go,
Smoother, refreshing, less filling that's clear
Blatz is Milwaukee's finest beer!