I’m very excited because, according to the deep research (i.e. one Wikipedia article, a fabulous article in Western Digs, listening to iTunes, and a stroll down memory lane) I conducted this week, Gordon Lake in Iowa Park, Texas, has a shot at being eligible for protection under state and federal laws.
Why? Beer tabs.
Specifically pull rings from beer cans that were manufactured between 1965 and 1975.
This exciting news began with lunch at the lake, as it sometimes does.
About once a week I spend my lunch hour at Gordon Lake. Some days I eat in my car – a pimento cheese sandwich from K&K Foods or egg rolls from Scobee’s – whatever covers my food groups. Sometimes I walk along the shore.
Last week, I made my way down to the shore and found, in rapid succession, two aluminum pull tabs on the dry shoreline, but where water certainly used to be. To say I was excited was an understatement.
I envisioned a couple of old fishermen sitting on the shore in the 60’s, smelling of stink bait and exchanging fish tales with raucous laughter and a couple of cold ones.
So these things are possibly 50 years old, and they’ve been hanging out lakeside just waiting to be found.
Still covered in dirt, I took these pictures of the aluminum ring pulls next to the closest thing I could find, for scale. Here ya’ go.
They stopped making ring pulls in the mid-seventies because of two things: 1) Litter, and, 2) People who put them back in the can before they drank were choking on them. The pop-top industry evolved to something we recognize today.
They were highly popularized in 1967 by the Jim Ed Brown hit “Pop a Top”, followed by the lesser known but equally emotional song, “I almost cut off my middle finger opening Daddy’s beer”, written by me in 1974.
The article I read in Western Digs said those beer pull tabs are now considered historic-era artifacts, “a designation that bestows new significance on the old aluminum cans and their distinctive tabs that are still found across the country.”
“Once an artifact attains the 50-year threshold, it is eligible to be recorded as an archaeological site or an isolated find in most states,” said William Schroeder, an archaeologist with the firm Reiss-Landreau Research in Yakima, Washington.
“This means that even beverage-can pull tabs are eligible for protection under state and federal laws.”
I don’t know if I should read that and respond, “WOO-HOO!”, or check to see if I’ve broken the law by leaving the shore with those beer tabs.
There you have it. Alert the media. Iowa Park is possibly eligible for state and federal protection because, beer tabs.