Beer Garden


Last September, as always, I attended my town's Oktoberfest. To me, nothing says "September" like Oktoberfest. Pondering this fact got my creative juices flowing, and I had a brilliant insight when I glanced at a sign:


"Bier Garten," it said.


I don't speak German, but I deduced the meaning, and that's when the great idea struck me. As a gardener, I've heard of salsa gardens and lasagna gardens and even pizza gardens. Next season, I announced triumphantly to myself, I will grow a beer garden.


My mind raced forward to summer, and I pictured the scene like this: After a day in the garden, my wife greets me on the patio with a kiss and a glass of lemonade. We enjoy the sunset as our children play in a backyard bathed in golden light. It's a moment of domestic bliss.


Wife (resting her head on my shoulder): What have you been up to all this time?


Me: Oh, just a little gardening.


Wife: That's wonderful. You are such a dedicated husband and father to spend your free time growing healthy food for our family.


Me: Thanks! Nice of you to say so.


Wife: So many guys spend their weekends on the golf course, and here you are in the backyard, spending quality time with the kids and providing us with fresh vegetables. I'm so lucky.


Me: There's no place I'd rather be.


Wife: What are you growing, anyway?


Me: (Absentmindedly thumbing through the newspaper, pretending not to hear.)


Wife: Hon?


Me: Hmm?


Wife: I say, what are you growing out there?


Me: Oh, the usual. Is there any more lemonade?


Wife: Like what?


Me: Isn't the sunset glorious tonight?


Wife: Tomatoes? Corn? Help me out here.


Me: Well, not those particular plants. But things that grow on stalks and vines. Have you seen the sports section?


Wife: Why do you keep changing the subject? I'm just interested in the delicious vegetables we'll be enjoying. What stalks and vines?


Me: I don't see why you're getting all defensive. If you must know, I'm growing some grains. Grains are very healthy, you know.


Wife: Grains? What kind of grains?


Me: Barley, for one.


Wife: I've never heard of growing barley in a home garden. But I suppose I could make that mushroom barley soup you like.


Me: Mm-hmm.


Wife: What else? You mentioned vines. Pumpkins? Watermelon?


Me: Not exactly. More like, you know, hops and stuff.


Wife: Hops?


Me: Yeah.


Wife: OK, what the hell's going on here?


Me: What do you mean?


Wife: Why are you spending hours a day tending barley and hops instead of things we can eat?


Me: It's a beer garden.


(Screen door slams.)


Me (following her into the house): Honey? Just listen. It's really a great idea. We'll save lots of money by brewing our own fresh…


(Bathroom door slams.)


Me (through the door): Sweetie?


Wife: What.


Me: Please don't scrape that fungus off the shower curtain.


Wife: Why not?


Me: It's my yeast.