Ken’s Tales 01

Don’s Twenty First

Don Coote, scholar, left arm tweeker and a contemporary of Andy Jenner and Peter Scolding. A most likeable character.

It was his ambition on his 21st birthday to drink 21 whiskies, provided always that someone paid for them. His birthday was on a Saturday and there had been a home fixture. The opposing skipper, hearing of the arrangement bought the first scotch.

From the kitty, he received more than one whiskey. He refused all beer, this was to be his night.

I was, as usual, on bar duty and had a pretty shrewd idea of the number of whiskies Don was putting away.

Bert Towner arrived with his son Lambert and Lambert’s girl friend. Lambert had been trying to touch her up all the way home from the away match and she was very angry with him. Bert had not noticed anything amiss as he turned round every now and again to speak to both of them in the back.

He bought Don a drink, hearing it was his birthday. I was serving Bert with a pint when I noticed that Don Coote was nowhere in site.

With an expression of utter joy on his face he had slid down the front of the bar and was lying at Bert’s feet. I made it that he had passed out on his twelfth scotch.

Lambert’s girl friend was quick to act. She undid his collar and told Bert and Lambert to carry him into the dressing room. All the time Bert was saying, ‘You shouldn’t have done it Don’.

Lambert’s girl friend told him to shut up, couldn’t he see that he was flat out and could not hear a word.

In spite of all our efforts there was nothing to be done, he was legless.

With some help we managed to get him into my car and Peter and I drove him home.

‘I’m not having him sleep upstairs’, said my wife, ‘he can stay down in the hall with a bucket and towel.’ We made him as comfortable as possible and retired to bed.

It was no use however. ‘Suppose he is sick and drowns’, said my wife, ‘he is so far gone, anything can happen’.

The result was that we took it in turns to sit with him all night.

Never has a night seemed so long and what a delight it was to see the first hint of dawn.

Don came to about 6am and wondered where on earth he was. After explanations he offered his sincere apologise for the trouble he had caused all of us.

The last I saw of him that day was being driven to his home on the Sunday morning with a jerry on his lap and Peter threatening him that he would walk home if he should miss the pot and be sick in his car. I never saw Don drinking scotch again.

Quite out of the blue, I received an email from Don. He had come across the web site and read Ken’s story about his 21st. Don included some of his own memories of HCC and readers can read his story by clicking this link. Ed.