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Heaven and Beer

“In heaven there is no beer that’s why we drink it here and when we’re gone from here our friends will be drinking all our beer…”

So sang Cleveland’s Grammy-winning polka king Frankie Yankovic to the unmistakable beat of a Slovenian style polka.

Now, I don’t know how this plays out (no pun intended) theologically, but I take it as sound advice to tip a cold one now and then while we still can. And how did we get to singing and drinking beer here today? Well, here’s a bit of history.

This song is not just an ethnic tradition “up North.” In German it’s sung “Im Himmel gibts Kein Bier,” and Hispanics call it “En Cielo No Hay Cerveza.”

The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers Band sings the song after being dismissed at the end of every game. It’s been adopted by the University of Iowa as their victory song, known as the Hawkeye Victory Polka. At the University of Wyoming it’s heard at all home games and is called the “beer song.”

And even here in Texas the song is played at Sam Houston State University down in Huntsville after every football and basketball game.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

But when you reach a certain age (draw your own conclusions here) even a bottle of beer brings back memories.

Years ago, cutting through our local mall I was stopped by a young lady doing one of those surveys. Normally I don’t get involved in this stuff, but since this turned out to be a survey on beer, why not? Question number one from the young lady: “How much beer do you drink in a week?” Answer: “Well, hmmm, maybe a six pack, but that might be on the high side.” Comment from the young lady: “Thank you.” I was crushed that I didn’t qualify, and often wondered if my answer would have been a case of beer would the survey have continued.

And then there was the faded sign, in an old non-descript Ohio river town tavern, “Free beer tomorrow.” Sad to say though, tomorrow never came…

And for the wine aficionados in the crowd, who with disdain turn up their noses at a brew, a creative, but unknown, author penned:

“In heaven there is no wine So we drink till we feel fine And when we leave all this behind Our friends will be drinking all the wine…”

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