The Lush Life


An Embarrassingly True Story

I was 11 and it was my first New Year’s Eve party. Sort of. It would be at least two more years before I was allowed to attend a Real Party. The moment we stepped into Aunt Fran’s suburban shoebox I was exiled to the Kid Ghetto: “Go in the other room and play with your cousins, honey. Have fun!”

Yeah, right.

All of the cousins who were my age were MIA, and the older cousins were at Real Parties doing Inappropriate Things. So it came down to me, two 8 year old girls who were drinking imaginary tea from tiny pink cups, and four kids under 5, not one of which was interested in discussing anything remotely intellectually stimulating. On the other hand, “the other room” was full of challenging games: stacking rings, six-piece puzzles, happy telephone. Oh, and a spring-mounted rocking horse.


In short, “play with your cousins” meant “babysit.” But at least there was punch. The punch in the bowl on the low table was syrupy and disgusting. The stuff in the bowl on the tall table looked better. But the adults were busy talking, so I helped myself. It was citrusy and fizzy and not half-bad. I drifted back into The Other Room and ended up reading picture books to a hqdefaultcouple of tow-haired toddlers between trips to refill my cup. Strangely, the more I drank the thirstier I got.

Then I climbed onto the rocking horse. It was absurdly small. Which made me laugh. In fact, everything made me laugh. The more I rode, the funnier everything got. I kept laughing, refilling my cup, and riding the rocking horse, laughing, refilling my cup, and riding the rocking horse…

At some point the room began to spin.

And then I threw up.

My parents were disappointed at having to leave so early. But when your kid is sick… “Do you think he has the flu?” Five minutes from Aunt Fran’s, we stopped at a gas station bathroom so I could throw-up again.

Eight gas station bathrooms later we finally made it home. Dad plopped me down onto my bed while Mom called the doctor. I was giggling between dry heaves. “Wait,” Dad said, “what punch bowl did you drink from?”

“The fizzy one.”

“Cancel the doctor!”

The next morning I felt like I’d swallowed the Gobi Desert. With a chaser of death.

new-years-eve-party-drunk-hats-new-yorkHave a great time on New Year’s Eve. But put caution tape around the punch bowl.

And not just for the kids.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Lush Life

  1. beigebirds says:

    Too funny: “The fizzy one”! Have a wonderful New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent writing and great memory skills considering the circumstances. Let us communally pray for a safe weekend. Happy new year, Mitch ! Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents. ” with a chaser of death” is a great line! So sad and so true!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. says:

    Great story as usual. Hope you have a blessed new year and stay away from the punch.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julia Soriano says:

    You’ve inspired me to write a story about the first time I got drunk, which was also when I was 11, during the holidays, with my parents and by accident. I hope I can tell my story close to how well you wrote yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gwennonr says:

    This was amazingly well written, even for you. And the title is just so perfect. I’m going to have to read this aloud to my husband and kids. That is, if I don’t get too drunk on laughter in the process. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. After an experience like that, I’m surprised you ever took a drink again! Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. V.J. says:

    The news had a report warning about this , lol. I was eleven when one of my uncles slipped me sherry at Christmas and kept encouraging me to drink it despite the sickly taste. My mother couldn’t understand why I was acting so silly….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. carhicks says:

    Thanks for sharing Mitch. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a cute story Mitch…and so well written. Thanks for the advice…I’m guessing sparkling apple cider is safe. 🙂 Blessings in 2017!! 🎉🎉🎉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. anitabacha says:

    Thank you for sharing! Reading the first story of 2017 in my bed this first day of the year is a real blessing. I have been down with flu 😷 for a whole week after Christmas festivities and on antibiotics,so may be I will have a glass of wine 🍷 midweek.
    Very Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Roos Ruse says:

    Great story, Mitch; inspiring a nice flashback down memory lane. Be glad you got sick. In my story I didn’t and didn’t get caught for years. ‘Funny, no one every wondered why the cousins liked me to read and ad lib the stories…

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. Ha,ha! This is hilarious. Remind me to keep my eye’s open when we go partying 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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