Beer Bottle Epitaph

By Larry Ray Hafley

Harry Caray, the famed baseball announcer who died recently, has been widely eulogized and remembered by those of the world. He was a profane, beer drinking man of the world. In fact, his drinking exploits were so fabled that he was labeled, “The mayor of Rush Street,” a notorious “Bourbon Street” in Chicago.

At the gates of Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs for whom he broadcast, fans brought hundreds of beer bottles and beer cans with flowers and messages stuck therein. They did this as a kindly tribute to their beer guzzling, broadcast hero.

How sad (1 John 2:14-17). Imagine that a man’s life and soul are so trivial, so mundane, so earthy and worldly that his most prominent momento is a beer bottle! The figure, the emblem of his life is an empty beer can with a flower stuck in it! How pitiful. How pathetic.

Before we disdain the man, what of ourselves? What would our memorial insignia be? A pair of dice? A lottery ticket? A dirty magazine? A TV set? How many of us could be represented by a Bible or some form of Bible teaching? Will our friends think it strange that our funeral is surrounded by the trappings of religious and spiritual things (1 Pet. 4:3, 4)? At your funeral, will Bible reading, gospel singing, and prayers seem to be a strange contrast to the life you have lived? If so, you have no right to make light of Harry Caray. Further, you have no right to expect the rest of us to lie for you at your funeral. Your life is telling the truth about you. So which will be most appropriate with which to adorn your casket, a Bible or a beer bottle?