Rum And Coca Cola

By Harold Doan

In 1961, while skipper of CGC ACTIVE stationed at Monterey, California, I was helped a great deal in my studies for the officer promotion exams by a strange set of events.  The exams were serious stuff, because if you failed one twice, you were out of line for promotion and soon out of the Coast Guard.  Needless to say, studying was my main focus before any exam.

 During this period, the ship got called to a SAR case.  The yacht had made it from the Caribbean to the West Coast and when they made a landfall, they were lost, so the skipper went ashore to the nearest farm house to ask directions and use the phone.  In addition to being lost, his main mast was broken. 

The ACTIVE proceeded to the site and took the sailboat in tow.  Upon mooring at the Monterey breakwater, the skipper expressed his gratitude by distributing bottles of rum from his ample supply.  (His confusion during the voyage may have had some bearing on the cargo he was carrying.)

I took my gift of this 120 proof rum home and set it aside for whatever occasion warranted itís use.

Soon afterward, I did need it.  My neighbor was a nice guy and on weekends, liked to visit and shoot the breeze.  I was studying and had no time for him, but he didnít seem to understand.  So I told him about the rum and offered him a rum and coke.  He accepted and I mixed two large drinks, one pure Coca Cola, the other 120 proof rum and Coke.  I took the plain coke.  I donít remember how many it took, but he was soon crawling home.  I proceeded with my studying.  His wife hasnít spoken to me since.

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