My grandparents’ liquor cabinet has smelled the same as long as I can remember. It is a combination of the candy covered chocolate mints they used to put out for guests, bourbon and old wood. Whenever we would come to visit, as soon as the adults weren’t looking, my sister would make a bee-line for the cabinet, to surreptitiously dip into the supply of candy. The bar itself is a Danish Modern piece that runs the length of the wall to which it is bolted. Wood colored with a black laminate top, my grandmother thought it was so very sleek and modern when she bought it in 1966. A world away from the heavy, dark antiques she had grown up with (just the stuff I love).
When I inherited the apartment, the contents of the bar came with it. My grandparents entertained frequently, and were also the recipients of many a gift bottles of booze, so there’s quite an assortment. One memorable night, soon after I became the sole resident of apartment 2024, my friend Seth and I sat ourselves down to do a little unscientific inventory of the bar. We tasted or smelled everything, threw out all the Kosher wine, some congealed liquors and a bottle of homemade Manhattan mix, labeled in my grandfather’s shaky handwriting.
The contents have come and gone a bit in the last three and a half years. My dad took all the Chivas back to Portland with him about a year ago, knowing I would never appreciate it the way he could. A bottle of Haitian rum was added recently, a potluck offering, direct from Haiti. The whiskey has gone untouched. There’s even a little alcohol annex in the coat closet, where the bottles that are too tall for the cabinet, have gone to live.
Yesterday, leaned down to slide open the door in order to put a wine glass away, and the entire door came off in my hand. I stood, blinking in shock, that this unit of furniture, a fixture for my entire lifetime was falling to pieces in my hands. I sat down on the floor to examine the damage, and realized that the frame was falling off. It seems four decades of bottles and glasses had become too much for the nails and screws holding it together. It’s not beyond my ability to fix it, but I’m somehow inordinately saddened by its decline, almost as if its one more piece of my grandparents that is slipping away from me.