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Drink Up!

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There's something for everyone at the Allen County Public Library, something to satisfy every intellectual or cultural curiosity. And occasionally there's something that just blows you mind.

“And whenever we'd go to a nice place and they had a swizzle stick that was special,” says Richard Bible, “I'd take it and bring it home”.

Richard Bible's been bringing home swizzle sticks, alcoholic drink stirrers, for 48 years.

“This one here my wife and i aquired in Acapulco, Mexico on our honeymoon in 1969.

Since that acquisition Bible has amassed a collection of ten thousand swizzle sticks, three thousand of which are displayed on the library's second floor. And there are some real gems here, a beautiful curvaceous stick from a bar in Havana, Cuba. This one's from, you guessed it, Hawaii.

“Well that's just for a long cocktail drink on the beach,” Bible says. “This is a very old one this is Jack Dempsey's from New York City.”

Some sticks are amusing, others elaborate. This King Tut collection is from Egypt, complete with sarcophagus. Bible's traveled extensively, hit lots of bars and casinos and always grabs a swizzle stick from each. And he's gotten many sticks as gifts from friends aware of his hobby.

'Have you taken ribbing over the years from friends about this?' we ask. “Well with the name Bible, yes, I have!”

This is one of the first swizzle sticks ever made in 1939. This one's a bit eerie, it's the stick O. J. Simpson used at the Palace Station Hotel bar in Las Vegas minutes before he went upstairs and robbed some football memorabilia at gunpoint. Richard and his wife were in the same bar and Richard grabbed the Juice's stick. Bible isn't alone in his hundred proof hobby, here he is at the International Swizzle Stick Collector's Association convention in, where else, Las vegans.

“That's a colorful shirt you have on,' we say. “Well that's my swizzle stick shirt. I wanted to wear it today but my wife wouldn't allow it.” 'When will you collect your last swizzle stick?' we ask. Well probably the day I die,” he answers. “I've already acquired the sticks for my wake! This says 'Dick Bible King of Swizzle' and these will be presented for a free drink in celebration of my life!”

Richard bible, ending his life as he lived it, out in 21 country. This is Eric Olson reporting.

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