About 35 years ago, when I was a lot younger, you get the drift, I went to an Eastern European music camp in New York state. I drove to New York for the camp. After registering, we got assigned to our dorms and began to make friends and play music.

Wine is more Kay Wheeler’s style, but beer kept her happy and healthy when she went to music camp. idiltoffolo/Shutterstock.com

Having visited Greece once, I heard and really liked Greek folk music. I met a young man who played the bouzouki, a type of Greek guitar. We made friends. I don’t remember his name, but he sure was a good bouzouki player. Everyone at the camp played and learned folk music all day. I was really interested in violin and loved every minute of it. The instructors got us all organized and we formed an orchestra. We played it all, from polkas to love songs.

My friend and I were rehearsing the afternoon of the concert and suddenly realized we were going to be late for the dress rehearsal. We practically ran to the rehearsal in the cafeteria and sneaked in the side door. There were tables to put your instrument cases on and the rehearsal had already begun. We stood behind the table close to the kitchen where we were less likely to be noticed as “being late to the rehearsal.”

My friend said he was thirsty after rehearsing for about an hour and was going into the kitchen to get a drink of something and did I want anything. “Sure,” I said. “I’ll have whatever you have. I’m not picky. I can drink Coke or Pepsi or Dr Pepper. It doesn’t matter. Whatever.”

He returned with two beers.

“What are you thinking?” I asked him. He laughed. “Open your violin case and put the beer in there and no one will notice.” So I did, and we enjoyed our beer. Then he went and got another beer. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had at a rehearsal. Then it was over and we all went back to the dorms to unwind, eat something and then play the concert.


After we rested in the dorm about 30 minutes, the door burst open and someone shouted, “Attention, attention! We have a major problem. Some camp members just got taken to the hospital.” Apparently, they were quite ill with what appeared to be food poisoning.

Then, about 30 minutes later, it was announced that a squirrel had died in the camp well. Our water supply had been contaminated. Anyone who had had a drink of water that afternoon would most likely get sick! It was a hot summer day, so almost everyone had had a drink of water that afternoon. Everyone, that is, except two campers.

My friend and I had not had any water that afternoon because we had been naughty and were drinking beer. We decided to keep our mouths shut. The next day, when we were all packing to go home, my friend shook my hand and smiled. We were the only two campers who did not become ill that day.

I don’t usually drink beer. A glass of wine is more my style, but that day, beer was top fashion, right in style … thank goodness!

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