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Imbibing with Bill

by Charles R. Kesler

Red and white and much else too

Bill Buckley introduced me to a lot of things over the years, including drink. Alcoholic beverages, I mean — what the late senator John Tower, in the hearings on his abortive nomination to be defense secretary, referred to as “beverage alcohol,” as distinct, one supposes, from rubbing alcohol.

Drink was a faithful part of our long friendship. Ours was what Aristotle would have called a friendship between unequals: When we met I was a teenager and WFB, in 1973, was at the meridian of his fame. After he had delivered a speech and endured a quick interview for my high-school newspaper (the ostensible reason for our meeting), I accompanied the great man to his plane. He had a gin and tonic, two actually, and I a Coke, in the Charleston, W. Va., airport bar.

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