Jim Bridges

Inspired by a special Red Sox fan, The Jim Bridges is a sweet butterscotch and cream cocktail, served in a Red Sox shot glass.

This one involves a bit of a story, folks, so settle in!

Two of my favorite long-term things are butterscotch, and the Boston Red Sox. It’s hard to think what could be better than the fun, sweet taste of butterscotch. And, growing up in Massachusetts, I developed a strong affinity for our hometown baseball team.

Like many who grew up there and are of a certain age, I spent lots of time practicing how to hold a bat like Dwight Evans, and how to side-gallop like Carlton Fisk.

Like Fisk, I fervently hoped that our then-cursed Sox could finally win a World Series. To love the Sox at that point in time was to deeply understand pain and delayed gratification – hard lessons for a little kid, especially one who dreamed of growing up to sell beer in the stands at Fenway Park!

Yes! I (mostly secretly) wanted to grow up to live in Boston, with a brick wall in my home (I’m not sure why), and to sell beer in the stands at Fenway Park. When I discussed this dream, which I don’t think was very often, I always said I wanted to sell Coke instead of beer because I think I thought I’d get in trouble for wanting to purvey alcoholic beverages.

Hey, look at me now!

In this future life (the dream went), I’d not only watch every Red Sox game in person, but I’d also be able to deploy my (also mostly secret) Boston accent! This was expressly forbidden at home because my parents come from Western Mass, where the A’s may fall flat, but the R’s stand up tall enough. Even though, at this time, we lived outside of Worcester, where my R’s wanted to fall by the wayside, this was a strict No.

For a little kid who dreamed as big as all this – and I haven’t even mentioned yet that the first person I ever wanted to marry was future Hall of Famer Jim Rice! – it was important to have someone on your side.

Jim Rice, Hall of Famer from the Boston Red Sox.
Image courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Jim Bridges was someone like that. He was my father’s best friend from childhood, and he matched, and nurtured, my love for the Sox. I remember drawing pictures for him of players we loved, when he came to our house. Through the years, we didn’t necessarily see much of each other, but we sometimes wrote and emailed. We could always talk about the Red Sox; that was our through-line. Over the years, he sent me an autographed Jim Rice photo and baseball, plus commemorative Sox tickets, and more. He was also a really fun guy and I felt like we understood each other, although I don’t know that we actually knew all that much about each other, aside from our completely mutual love of the Sox. But that was all we needed, and that connection was strong.

I heard from my dad that Jim was sick; the worst part of his illness happened to coincide with the beginning of the pandemic, and around the same time as the exposure of the (very unfortunate and wrongheaded) cheating scandal that the Sox ran. That scandal also spurred the firing of our manager, who was already under a deserved suspension for a different cheating scandal with another team. For the first time ever, the Sox – and baseball overall, which was mired in additional cheating and other scandals – lost their luster for me.

I was mad – wicked mad! I stopped reading about baseball, and I put away most of my Sox souvenirs, out of sight. Not my Jim Rice autographs, never those. But nearly everything else, including the Red Sox shot glass I used each morning to drink a special health elixir. That glass went to the back of the cabinet, so high up and so far back that I couldn’t even see it. I sometimes even said that the Sox and I were going through a divorce.

During this time, when my dad told me it was time to call Jim, to begin to say goodbye, I panicked – I hadn’t been keeping up on my Red Sox! What would Jim and I talk about?! To make sure, I gave myself a crash course on the new trades (ugh – nothing to be happy about there). Simultaneously, I received a surprise gift in the mail; another friend made me a Red Sox mask that touched my heart, and honestly kind of broke it open.

For people who don’t care about sports, I totally understand that you may not understand any of this. If I weren’t involved in it, I don’t think I would either! But baseball has been such a connector for me, through all phases of my life, all around the world. I once connected with a Japanese man, in Italy, over his Seattle Mariners jacket. Neither one of us spoke the other’s language, but on a quiet morning in an art museum in Venice, we shared a real moment – waving and laughing and chanting “Ichiro!” to each other. What could be more pure and fun?!

Somehow, receiving the Red Sox mask in the mail and preparing for Jim’s death opened an avenue of forgiveness for me. I hadn’t really wanted to leave the Red Sox behind, but I’d been angry. Now, I softened and brought them back into my life.

At one point, my dad told me that Jim wasn’t expected to live through the weekend. This was extraordinarily sad for me.

On that Saturday, I decided to prepare a special mid-day cocktail on my porch, and I knew how it would go:

It would be something meant to be sipped and thoroughly enjoyed. Because butterscotch is one of my all-time favorites, I used butterscotch liqueur. I brought the Red Sox shot glass back from its hiding place. I poured the drink (butterscotch and cream) and brought it out onto my porch, along with the bottles of butterscotch (a small nip bottle) and cream, so I could make one more. It was a beautiful day, and I wanted to be outside in it.

I’d been looking out the window all day, thinking about the journey Jim was on. He lived in Florida, and I had no idea what the weather was like in Florida then (though my guess was – hot! humid! virusy!) but I was glad to be able to think about Jim while looking at such beauty here in Washington.

I toasted to Jim Bridges.  

An intrepid squirrel who had studied me several times, at length, through the window over the last weeks crawled over, pausing to test me, and came within a foot of my elbow as I sat thinking about Jim. I honestly think it was coming to steal the bottle of cream! Jim would have probably made a joke about that.

I thought about Jim and poured the second. The drink was even better the second time; it was like a melted ice cream sundae in the bottom of the dish.

Yes, this drink, The Jim Bridges, was something to be thoroughly enjoyed, and it was.

Jim died two days later, on Monday night. Go Sox. Go Jim.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Butterscotch liqueur

  • 1 oz Cream

  • Red Sox shot glass

Directions

  • Pour butterscotch liqueur into your Red Sox shot glass.
  • Pour equal amount of cream on top.
  • Toast Jim Bridges; savor; contemplate friendships and shared passions.
Savored on July 18

4 comments

  1. Mallory Greener11/13/2020 | Reply

    So touching! I love your Irish way of telling tales!

    • admin11/14/2020 | Reply

      Thank you, Mallory - glad you enjoyed it! ♥️

  2. Bill11/13/2020 | Reply

    WOW! Meaningful, heartfelt. I learned a lot from your work. Well done. You are very special. Thanks for sharing. Let’s talk soon

    • admin11/14/2020 | Reply

      Thanks, Dad - I'm glad it meant something to you too. I know Jim was very special to both of us. ♥️

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