One For The Road

Drinking in Florida Before Enlightenment

In today’s socially conscious America it is practically unthinkable that one could ever, with the tacit blessing of the state, enjoy cocktail hour while driving a car. In fact, in Florida in 1968, and through at least 1972, there were many bars/package stores equipped with drive through windows.

Controllers and their association with alcohol was no myth. I don’t mean everyone was an alcoholic, nor do I mean everyone drank. Like other segments of society, we had our teetotalers, and our imbibers of moderation. However, I believe we had a higher ratio of rummies per capita than perhaps any other work group. I am sorry to report that I knew guys who drank at work. I knew guys who showed up to work drunk and left equally drunk. We had some world class drunks, if that’s anything to be proud of.

And, with most of the complement at Jacksonville commuting to the center from the city—a drive of roughly 50 minutes to an hour—it was no surprise that the two principal bars in Hilliard—Kings and the Pines—had drive through windows. I rode in a carpool for a little over a year with three other guys, two of whom needed their afternoon cocktail for the ride home every shift (I wasn’t one of them). I made one exception. That was on 22 December 1972 as I’ve relatedelsewhere.

Although I’ve never been a problem drinker, what little I did I gave up for good in the 90s when the DUI laws got really tough. It wasn’t worth it to me to ever have to claim “just a couple of beers” (cops rank that right up there with “the check’s in the mail”) when I didn’t care that much about having a drink at all. What were we thinking in the 60s?

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Last updated: 14 April 2009