Shelley Berman, A Glass of Buttermilk & Dan Sherrod

In 1959 I was an unsophisticate of 17 at St. Edward’s High School a Catholic boarding school in Austin, Texas. I was in the 10thgrade living in a huge dorm with bunkbeds. Years later when I saw old b+w photographs of the dorm it reminded me of some German Stalag.

I remember to this day that a fellow student, Dan Sherrod, by his bunk bed desk, not far from mine, was listening to a record called Inside — Shelley Berman. I will never forget Berman talking about how disgusting a glass emptied of its contents (buttermilk) looked. This was enough for me and I can declare here and now that I have never tried it.

Dan Sherrod, the sophisticate, was from Odessa, Texas. He was particularly intelligent and looked the part with his glasses. But he had a way that was not over-the-top “I am superior to you”. One day he gently corrected me on the pronounciation of that French car (I am sure there was not one at the time anywhere in the State of Texas) Peugeot.

While most of us read Motor Trend, Sherrod swore by Road & Track. He would tell me about Formula One races. Being an Argentine, at least I knew who Juan Manuel Fangio was.

On one weekend afternoon Sherrod was playing a record that I ultimately bought not too long ago here in Vancouver. It was Peter Ustinov — The Grand Prix of Gibraltar. This is a remarkable recording of Ustinov making all the car noises and imitating to perfection fictitious (based on real ones) F-1 drivers of the time.

Looking back at my boyhood in Texas, today September 2, 2017, one day after Shelley Berman died, I can pinpoint the young man responsible for making me the snob I am today (and proud of it!).

Aston Martin DB4
I had a telephone chat with Sherrod who told me he once owned the Aston Martin DB4 his father once (or twice) drove to St. Ed’s. We were awed at the car. We were allowed to open and close the doors that made a thick and rewarding clunk of a sound. He is about to sell his 13 year old Corvette and I believe he told me he was going to buy a Mustang.

Who would have ever suspected that Texas could have engendered such a sophisticate as Dan Sherrod? If I ever visit him I will demand he serve me a glass of ice cold buttermilk.

Addendum: Dan Sherrod has communicated:

And, you’ll never get any buttermilk from me.

Link to: Shelley Berman, A Glass of Buttermilk & Dan Sherrod

Originally published at

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