Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'll Sleep Through That!

Mark. With his friend.

Our family loves root beer.
And our eldest son can sleep through anything.
These two facts are related.
Maybe I'd better explain . . .
My Husby loves to make root beer.
He's very good at it.
I got my first taste of his homemade brew on our wedding night.
Neither of us drink alcohol, so he had brought several bottles of the magical elixir in his suitcase so we could toast each other.
It was . . . fun.
And thus began a family tradition.
I should explain here that root beer making is an exact science requiring skill and knowledge.
And large containers.
Grant used a garbage pail.
A new one, just so you don't get the wrong idea.
Moving on . . .
He would add the precise amount of water, then the elixir, then the sugar.
And finally, the yeast, the vitally important 'makes everything else work' ingredient.
Then the stirring.
And finally, the fun part, the bottling.
One important aspect of root beer making is the two to three weeks of 'construction' or 'fermenting' time.
It must sit quietly in a warm spot during that all-important period.
That's where our son, Mark, comes into the picture.
Mark was our first-born. He was little.
We kept his room warm.
Perfect for a couple of cases of root beer bottles waiting to 'become'.
So to speak.
Now, the biggest problem with home-brew is that, as the brew ages, the pressure inside the bottle builds. And after a few uses, some of said bottles may become weak.
And you can't tell, by looking, which are so affected.
You can probably guess what happens then.
Pop! Fizz!
It was very early morning. Grant and I were still soundly asleep.
The glorious rosy sun was just rising on another perfect prairie morning.
It's my story, I can remember is how I want.
Suddenly, there was a dull 'popping' sound.
Then another.
We were instantly awake. And knew, just as instantly, and with the instinct of new parents, what those sounds meant.
Our root beer was ready.
And we had a couple of weak bottles.
And, more importantly, they were posing a very real threat to our baby, sleeping mere inches away in his crib.
Imagining projectiles of glass flying everywhere, we scrambled from our bed, threw open the baby's room door and charged inside.
Before you get too excited, I should explain that things weren't as bad as we had imagined.
The bottles had obviously become weak at the base of the neck.
They looked as though they had been neatly beheaded.
The neck and lid were sitting right beside each bottle.
Our sleeping baby was fine.
Visions of flying glass faded from our minds and we immediately turned to the next problem.
Clean up.
Jabbering excitedly, we gingerly disposed of the broken pieces and hauled the remaining cases from the room.
Then proceeded with the scrubbing and vacuuming.
Finally satisfied with our efforts, we prepared to leave the room.
It was then I realized that Mark hadn't made a sound throughout the entire . . . loud . . . process.
I peeped into the crib.
He was still rosily, happily, soundly asleep.
Snoring slightly in that cute 'baby' way.
My Husby and I learned several things that day:
  1. Don't re-use your root beer bottles.
  2. Don't ferment your root beer
  3. In the baby's room
  4. Unless he's a great sleeper


  1. Aren't they amazing! Our first slept through road reconstruction right under the window! Then she slept through every car ride. I wonder if the two were related. Is your husband still the official root beer brewer, or are kids learning?

  2. Sounds like my brother! A full blown zombie attack could happen and he'd never know.

    I've never had root beer, I wonder what it tastes like. Hopefully not aniseed! Yuck!

  3. lol that's what I call a great kid!!! lol
    We used to make beer and it would turn out great and then I told my hubby try to make it a tad stronger so it's like Brador.
    So he did.
    And we drank half a glass before rolling all over the floor.
    It wasn't beer anymore but great stuff anyway but you could only drink half a glass and even that was potent So I don't know what we made but we couldn't drink it to enjoy it so we stopped making beer.

  4. I remember my Mom making root beer. She would put it in the bottom of the closet with a towel over the top. I remember the popping. Sometimes it would blow the lid off. Thanks for a bringing back a good memory.

  5. I love root beer:) What a wonderful sleeper you son was, my children would not have been so quiet:)


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