Two years ago, on his Bourbon Daily podcast Steve Akley deemed October 20 to be National Alan Bishop Day. Why? I don’t think anyone knows for certain…not even Steve and certainly not Alan.
Nevertheless, Alan ran with it especially after seeing how the entire concept of him having a “Day” annoyed close fried Jolee Kasprzak. There were memes. There were hand signals that even two years later some friends can’t master. There were slogans: Solidarity Through Sarcasm! It was nonsense. Wonderful, fun-loving nonsense.
Last year on October 20 the silliness continued. The YouTube show My Whiskey Den had an Alan Bishop Day Advent show where they drank Malort and ate McRibs. Why? Again, no one knows. Simply making memories out of more nonsense is probably the most accurate answer. The guys on that particular show also have some gastrointestinal memories they won’t soon forget. Pro-tip: Don’t bother asking for Malort with your McRib meal at the McDonald’s drive thru. They don’t have Malort. I know. I asked.
We also had Alan on Bourbon Turntable to celebrate – what was somehow after only one year – International Alan Bishop Day. I suppose there was some decree from the United Nations or something. It took about a minute and forty-six seconds for me to lose control of the show. A small price to pay to distill more memories from this mash bill of nonsense.
Now here we are again today at Alan Bishop Day volume 3. This year is quite different, however. Today things are more serious. Today is the funeral of Alan’s close friend, “Moonshine” Mike Stallings. I never had the pleasure to have met Mike in person. I’ve seen him in videos. I’ve heard his music. I had a couple of chats with him on Facebook. Most of what I saw of Mike was during his fight with cancer. He fought with courage, joy and a song. To someone like me who didn’t really know him, the way I saw Mike live through his battle still meant something to me. I know it means infinitely more to Alan, Mike’s other close friends and, of course, the Stallings family.
So, the takeaway for me on this October 20 is to be more thankful and to take less for granted. Since this is, after all, International Alan Bishop Day I’ll start there. I am thankful for Alan and his friendship. What started with my numerous, annoying questions about his whiskey, has evolved into one of my dearest friendships. Conversations about whiskey are fewer and fewer these days and have been replaced with conversations about life, faith and, of course, music.
Because of Alan, I got to know Jolee, the guys from My Whiskey Den (Mike Lisac, Patrick Belongia, and Ben Eaves) and many others. All relationships that I have come to treasure.
But, I wouldn’t have met Alan, if I had not first met Steve Akley. So, a “thank you” to Steve and the ABV gang, too.
And I wouldn’t have met Steve had Drew Crawley not recommended I listen to Bourbon Daily several (five or six?) years ago. So, I am thankful to Drew who inadvertently pointed me to the beginning of my own personal “Bourbon Trail” that now has come full circle as Drew and I host “Bourbon Turntable” together.
Ultimately, had The Wife liked wine I might not have ever switched to whiskey (a story for another day). Which means I wouldn’t have been at the Westport Whiskey & Wine tasting room. Which means I wouldn’t have met Drew. So, of course, The Wife is at the center of it all…even on International Alan Bishop Day.
I have a phone full of pictures – more than will fit in the Apple iCloud. Yet when I scrolled through my photos looking for a picture with Alan to use with this article, I found only two. Both from the day we first met in 2019.
Then I scrolled through again and I noticed that I have far too many dear friends that I have far too few (or no) pictures of with me. I usually avoid the camera because I’m fat and goofy looking. I suppose I could work on being skinnier – not sure what to do about the goofy-looking part. But, what I need to focus on is not taking for granted time spent with special friends. So, if getting your picture made with a fat, goofy-looking dude is annoying to you…too bad.
Before the sun sets on October 20, 2022 I encourage you to do three things. One, raise a glass to Alan Bishop. After all, for some ill-defined reason, it’s his day of nonsense.
Two, raise a glass to Mike Stallings. Even if you don’t know Mike, take it as a moment to remember any good-hearted soul in your life who was gone too soon. Third, and finally, take a picture with a friend. Tell them you are thankful for them. Tell them that you love them. I think Alan and Moonshine Mike would approve.