Lime Vodka, Raisinets, and Cheesecake


It’s an American teenager’s rite of passage to get sick the first time they drink.  I was no exception. Aside from tasting different liqueurs on babysitting jobs after the kids went to bed, I had only tasted my dad’s beer, Schlitz.

No thank you. I was not a fan of fizzy bitter fermentation.

So when my older-by-a-few-months pal, Joan, turned sixteen and got her driver’s license, I was happy to say yes when she invited me and Debbie to a house party on the south side of Des Moines. Or maybe it was the east side. We were from the north side. Joan knew the town like the back of her hand and also knew everyone in it.

Joan picked us up in her parents’ white Ford on that February night and drove us to the house, where we found a few guys and no parents.  They had lots of flavored vodkas. I chose lime, because why not?

I’ll tell you why not. After a couple of shots, I didn’t feel very good.  Teenagers are inherently impatient, and you have to respect the booze and give it some time to kick in.

The next thing I knew, Joan was grabbing me and pushing down the hallway to the bathroom where I prayed to the porcelain god.

You know, I puked.

Then I felt like dog turds. She didn’t want me to ruin the party , so she put me in the back seat of her parents’ car, in the dead of winter, in Iowa.

My teeth chattered as I tried to sleep it off. When Joan and Debbie finally came out, I was one drunk popsicle. They let me stay in the back seat to “sleep” on the way home.

No sleeping occurred. The motion of the car was enough to make upchuck again.

“Don’t you dare puke in my dad’s car!” Joan said, as she and Debbie laughed about my situation.

I swore I ‘d never have lime vodka again. 50 years later, I can tell you that I never have. Just looking at it brings back the memory of that night.

Flash forward to adulthood, now a mom with kids. We went to a movie on the 3rd of July. I bought Raisinets at the concession counter. I tried to share them, but no one wanted chocolate covered raisins. I loved raisins in cinammon raisin bread and in my cereal. 

I ended up eating the whole box. The next morning, I thought I was going to die. My gut wasn’t used to so much fiber so fast.  I lay on the couch, moaning as my family left for the parade. Never again have I eaten a Raisinet. I even pick raisins out of oatmeal cookies.

During that same era, I had a piece of cheesecake at a restaurant and threw up when I got home. Maybe it wasn’t the cheesecake’s fault, but I don’t eat it anymore.

If you are going to offer me a piece of cheescake with a side of chocolate-covered raisins and a lime vodka cocktail to wash it down . . .

Excuse me. Just the thought of it is sending me down the hallway to the bathroom where I might have to pray to the porcelain god, yet again.

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