Migrating boat gas means spring has sprung

Some people measure the oncoming of spring by watching rodents look for shadows or by checking for bits of green peeking through the ground. I have a more sure-fire method of knowing when spring has arrived. And guess what, people? It is here.

How do I know? Easy.

“What did you do today?” I asked my husband Eric as I puttered about the kitchen.

“The usual,” he answered, watching food preparations closely. “Fixed stuff at work, came home and fixed stuff here.”

Then a thought popped into his head that drew his attention from supper’s progress and brought a smile to his face.

“Oh, I plugged in the beer fridge today!”

Yep, spring is here. When it gets warm enough outside that the sun might interfere with the temperature of his beer, we know winter has relaxed its icy grip.

The nice thing about having the beer fridge plugged in is the lack of bait in my kitchen. I freaked out a visiting neighbor the other day by pulling open the freezer and having a baggie of frozen minnows slide off the shelf and land at her feet. It is creepy if you aren’t used to it, because they kind of smile at you through the bag. I didn’t dare tell her about the bait puck full of maggots on the bottom shelf of the fridge door.

Another nice thing about the garage fridge being on is the space it creates. We get to move the boat gas outside.

People often ask us why we refer to Eric’s favorite brand of beer as boat gas, so I thought I’d tell the silly little story.

Actually, it’s my grandpa’s fault.

Eric drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon, and has for a long time. Apparently there is some new fad going around that involves the newly legal drinkers enjoying PBR, but Eric is a long time fan.

I grew up next door to my grandparents (my dad’s folks) and they were a constant part of our daily lives, which is a wonderful way to live, by the way.

My grandfather was a huge fan of beer and also liked to fish. Every now and then he would tell my grandma, “I’m going into town to buy some gas for the boat.”

Grandma, a woman very wise to the ways of men, would just raise an eyebrow, then smile and send him on his way. If one of us kids stopped by, which probably happened to her every half hour, we would ask where grandpa was.

“Oh,” Grandma would say. “He went to get some boat gas.”

Gramps would head to a local tavern and hoist a few PBRs with his buddies, coming home a few hours later in a happy frame of mind. Occasionally he remembered to stop and buy some boat gas to make his story more plausible.

It just got to be a family joke.

“There goes grandpa, heading off to get some boat gas.”

I guess I don’t remember exactly when Eric was told the story or how it got passed on to him. Eric has been my family for so long that sometimes I forget he wasn’t raised in the same house as I was. My three brothers probably had something to do with sharing the boat gas story. They give everything nick-names.

The name stuck. Eric refers to his beer as boat gas, and most of his buddies who hang out in the garage (with the beer fridge) do the same. Even the kids refer to PBR as boat gas.

So there you have it. The snow has mostly melted, little animals are out of their winter burrows and scampering around, the weather is warming up and the boat gas has migrated to the garage. It has been a long winter, but spring is finally here.