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October 26, 2011

I haven’t been here yet. I’ve meant to go for about a decade.

I thought I’d like to go with someone else, but so far no one has come through. I love the way it sits there, unassuming and the same, year after year. And the way it’s called The Beer Garden. I’m not sure most people even know what those are, anymore. Even I’m a little vague.

One hot day in Fresno, my grandmother pulled a can of beer out of her refrigerator. “Grandma!” I said. Not that we were teetotalers, or anything. It just wasn’t the kind of thing she usually had in the fridge. More like fabulous sheets of unbaked pastry, or meat dishes that took three days to make. I never taste food like that anymore.

Any alcohol around the place tended to be a lot more concentrated, and rarely used. But she said she liked beer, now and then. When she was a young girl, in the orphanage in Constantinople, they used to take them out to the beer garden sometimes, in the summer. That’s where she learned to enjoy it. She said, more than once, that those were the happiest days of her life.

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