Peace on Earth

The father swung his arm around his son’s shoulder and told him that he would take him inside the pub and introduce him to his first pint. The son blanched sharply—he wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, much less to take what his father thought was his first drink. For, Samuel Dewey Baldwin had been introduced to drink in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, when he was but a lad of thirteen, as it wasn’t hard to get a drink in Baltimore in 1910. And now, in 1914, in London, England, where they had gone to visit his father’s family, his father was about to officially introduce him to his first pint. It was the first day of August and the hot noonday sun had burned the morning fog almost completely away. Sammy Baldwin with his American accent was hailed as a Yank but was having a hard time understanding the strange accents and phrases everyone so quickly spat out, in Great Britain.

As the Baldwin father/son duo walked through the doors of the pub, another boy was slugging down his third straight beer. Just turned eighteen, and born and raised in New York, Abraham Schmidt was the son of a German father and an English mother, and, considering that England was on the eve of entering into a war with Germany, Schmidt and his father, forty-four-year-old Max Schmidt, were taking quite a ribbing from those in the pub who knew of their lineage.

William Dewey Baldwin ordered two steins of beer and when the dark liquid was set before them swigged his down with relish. As the younger Baldwin sat staring at the dark ale, the bartender smiled at him then nodded towards the two Germans. “C’mon mate, slug it down, ol’ Maxie’s boy done all-idee put down thray ah ‘em, don’t g’wan let a Jerry show yah up—A mate.”

Sammy Baldwin followed the bartender’s gaze to where Max and Abe Schmidt were fast getting drunk and smiled, then quickly downed the beer. His head fairly spun but he slammed the now empty mug on the counter and looked over at his father. “Well, hell, gimme two more right now then—line ‘em up.”

The bartender smiled, like a cat that had just swallowed a canary. “That’s the spirit bloke,” he said, “show ‘at ol’ Fritzie wot’s wot—A matey.”

It didn’t take long for both the Baldwin’s and the Schmidt’s to get rip-roaring drunk and it didn’t take long before an argument started on how the Germans were trying to rule the world and how the English, along with the French and Russians, would destroy Germany, once and for all.

Max Schmidt was about to clobber William Baldwin when his son stepped in and then Baldwin’s son stepped in and it was left to the two youngsters to fight for their respective genealogical glory.

They took it outside the pub and it was a gut-wrenching, all-out war. Both boys were small but compact; Sammy Baldwin was five feet six inches tall and weighed all of one hundred and forty pounds while Abe Schmidt was but five feet five inches tall and a hundred and fifty pounds. It was like two Pit Bulldogs going at each other and it lasted almost an hour.

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