1500 bottles of Brandy
I'm driving down the FDR drive late one Sunday afternoon. I’m taking an old timer back to Bethel after he had given the public talk at our Kingdom Hall. He had been at Bethel for over forty years. After a couple of minutes of silence he points over to the Schafer Brewery and said. "Son, if they ever shut down that factory.” He points to the brewery. “They would have to shut down that factory too.” He smiles as he points over at Bethel.
Three guys are sitting around, each drinking a large mug of beer. A Publisher, a Pioneer and a Bethelite. Just then, three flies falls into all three of their mugs of beer. The publisher pushes the glass away and says. "I can't drink this now." The Pioneer looks into the glass, and picks the fly out of the beer and throws it away and keeps on drinking. The Bethelite picks up the fly by its wings and holds its head over the glass and says. "Spit it out. Spit it out!"
To say Bethelities like their booze would be an understatement.
There was one guy, who didn't spit it out. Dwayne who went to Jack Sutton’s Polish wedding, in Green Point. Now, those Polish people know how to put on a wedding!
It was what we called a football wedding. It was a Bethelites dream, because there are two bottles of booze on each table. A bottle of scotch on one end and a bottle of whiskey on the other end of the table. Well, needless to say, Dwayne and many others there had way too much to drink, that night. We took Dwayne back to Bethel. He lived in the 124 building, “The most holy." I told my friend Dave to take him to his room and put him in bed. Which he did, but as soon as Dave left him, Dwayne decided to go to the men’s bathroom, down the hall. So as soon as he hit the door to the men’s bathroom he passed out cold, face down on the floor. At about 4:00 in the morning, some new boy went to the bathroom and saw him there. Oh my god! The new boy thought. This guy is dead! So he called the good doctor up and told him about the "dead guy" in the fifth floor bathroom.
After the Doc's examination, he said "He not dead, but will wish he was in the morning." Of course he was in George Couch's office the next day. He did what we called back then the "Indian Navajo trick." This is where you beg and scream for one's life. It worked, he only got a verbal reprimand. They don't tolerate much at Bethel but if they kicked everyone out of Bethel, for drinking too much, the place would have been a ghost town years ago.
There were many stories about Bethelites back in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's that they would find passed out Sunday mornings, on the sidewalk or in the gutter in front of the 124 building. They would just dust them off and bring them inside.
Everyone knows Rutherford was a raging alcoholic.
Yes, to this day booze and Bethel go hand in hand.
As for Knorr his favorite was "J&B" scotch. He got it by the case. Of course he never bought it. They were always gifts that were given to him by the many ass kissers he knew.
Even Nathan could have sex after a bottle of scotch. Though I think the good German in him felt guilty as he was doing the dirty deed.
Speaking of cases of booze. Here is one that few people know about. The story of the stolen 1,500 bottles of "Fine Spanish Brandy."
It was the summer of 1973. They were having the "Divine Victory" international convention in N.Y.C. Brothers were flying in from All over the world. Two 747's full of Jehovah’s Witnesses from Spain came for the assembly. All of them were going through the factory on tour. My friend Armando, who speaks Spanish was leading one of these groups through the factory. It happen to be the tour group that had the Spanish Overseer in charge of the whole delegation.
At the end of the tour, the Spanish brother told Armando. "My friend, we have a gift for you and all Bethelites here, at the World Head Quarters. All of the brothers and sisters from Spain have chipped in to buy you and all the other hard working Bethelites a bottle of 'Fine Spanish Brandy' and this is your bottle!"
As he was giving him the bottle to Armando, the Spanish brother asked "So who would we talk to, about how to distribute the other 1500 bottles to the brothers?"
"Well…. I guess." Armando said. "That would be George Couch, The Bethel Home Overseer."
That night, Armando come over to our room, and shared some of his “Fine Spanish brandy” with us. We set there he told us the story of how he got it.
You guessed it. It’s been over forty years and I still haven't seen my bottle of brandy yet. Oh, they got passed around alright and you have a good idea who got them. We even saw some of those bottles show up at local Elder's homes in the N.Y.C. area. About thirty guys, the Bethel “heavies” and their friends got them all!
Isn’t it stealing when you give something to a person to give it to another person but that person keeps it for themselfs?
So this brings to the absolute worst possible thing at Bethel. A Bethelite who steals from his fellow Bethelite! Stealing from some poor Bethelite making .73 cents a day. That should be a stoning offence. We had three of them, in the four years I was there. They would wait until we got paid, since we got paid in cash. Then go into your locker when you were working and ripe you off. It never happen to me but I had friends who had to borrow money to buy subway tokens because of what this so called "brother" did.
One of these guys was one of the most self-righteous newboys you ever saw. He would walk around the factory with an "Aid to Bible understand book" under his arm. He gave a text comment one time and said. "I have walked the floors of the 124 at night and I have heard Rock n Roll music coming out of the brothers rooms." This guy was trying to out righteous even the governing body. Sure enough six months later it was announced at breakfast table. "Brother Leroy Righteous has been disfellowshipped for stealing" Isn't that always the way it is, it’s always the more righteous ones you need to watch. Just like in your local congregations.
At Bethel one of the most dangerous things there was a self-righteous new boy.