Shiner Bock always reminds me of Katie.
Katie was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Atlanta after college. She was about seven years older than me and worked for the same company. . .she had also gone to the same college as myself, only for grad school. Katie was one of those unique souls that comes into your life to expose you to things you never would’ve seen. Like Shiner Bock, bluegrass and rockabilly.
She played the fiddle, sometimes with a band called Two Dollar Shoes (this is all from memory, so the details are fuzzy). It was with Katie that I made my first trip to Star Bar. It may have been to see Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire or one of many other random rockabilly experiences I had there (always tinged with memories
of Pabst Tall boys and shots of Jager.) Star Bar was a dark, dimly lit small venue with red vinyl benches along the side and a bar in the basement called the Little Vinyl Lounge. Katie eventually moved to Austin, Texas. . .fell in love with a much younger man, last I heard. She was part of a very interesting chapter in my life, that first year after college. She took me under her wing in a city where I knew no one and showed me places that I never would have found on my own. Restaurants, bars and other spots that are part of the collective memory of why I loved Atlanta. A lot of what I learned then shaped who I am now in some small way. . .a lot of silly mistakes learned from. Every so often I google her to see if I can find any information on this long lost piece of my past, but to no avail.
All I have are my memories, which resurface each and every time I drink Shiner Bock, which I happened to do last night at a show, at a dark, dimly lit small venue. . .I’m not 22 anymore, far from it. . .but I can still transport back to those days with a sip of that beer, a whiff of cigarette smoke, and the twang of a guitar.