Josh asked the groom if they were registered.
"No, for presents. People get presents when they get married."
"Oh, no, we're not. You could bring some liquor, though."
So that's what we did. We went in together with Trevor and presented a fifth of Four Roses and a fifth of Maker's Mark. These gifts were bestowed at the party the night before. Trevor bestowed the Makers by yelling across the room, "Hey, this is for y'all" and then he opened it up and took a slug of it. The bottles got passed around all night, then periodically misplaced and found again, then passed around some more.
The little brother of the groom brought moonshine, the purchase of which brought no money to the revenuers. He said that since it was a special occasion, he sprung for the nice stuff. Nice stuff meant fruit-flavored. It was in a quart mason jar and also got passed around. I stayed away from the whiskey, but sampled the moonshine, just to be friendly. It was dangerously sweet - it went down way too easy.
The next morning, in the clear remorseless light of day, everything was gone except for two beers. Someone said there was still whiskey left, but we never found it. And all that remained of the shine was a sticky jar. I washed it out in the bathroom sink of the cabin, intent on taking it home as a fun wedding souvenir.
Most of us spent the day sleeping so that we could be fresh for another round of celebrating. There was a wedding, a reception, an open bar, dinner and dancing. As we walked back up to the cabin, I was sober enough to do some gin math and decide that I needed to switch to water. I dug the mason jar back out of my bag and filled it up in the sink. I chugged water like it was my job.
I was sitting next to the groom. He asked if I had gotten some more moonshine. I passed him the jar and he took a big swig. "Oh man, that's good." He was holding an unopened beer. I offered to put it back in the pack for him, but he said it made him feel less lame to hold it. Then he drank some more water. We passed the jar back and forth between us, periodically refilling it. Soon someone else noticed how fast we were pounding the stuff, and we passed it to them, too. The jar went around the room, and each person who drank of it got a sort of relieved look on their face. We were happy to celebrate our friend's wedding, but we were getting too old for this nonsense. We made jokes about how hardcore we were as we refilled the jar again and again. It was so oddly wholesome in the midst of all the revelry. And somehow it was even cool. I'm going to start bringing mason jars to every party.
Pretty soon, we started calling it "H," short for H20. Josh pulled me aside and sternly said I couldn't call it that, because it was slang for heroin. He assumed that everyone else was in on the joke, but not me. Okay, fine, I hadn't known that, but now that I did, it was still fun. Pass the aitch.