Oregon Tavern Age: Waiting to Craft


The Dirty Dozen played on television. The greatest macho cast in the history of movies, Lee Marvin, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes and Jim Brown (!), were kicking Wehrmacht ass.

I sat at the bar near Terry, drinking a local porter with my coat pockets stuffed with keyhole limpets, sand dollars, hairy tritons and a beaver stick. I was waiting to craft with them, Christmas crafting.

The Sea Star Lounge was about to host what surely would be the only crafting event in the history of world crafting where alcohol was served and The Dirty Dozen played. Who knew what kind of jingoistic holiday crafts that combination might produce? A macrame Three Wise Men carrying assault weapons?

A few weeks earlier, I had overhead a conversation in the lounge about an impeding sea-themed crafting afternoon scheduled for there. The idea had been to craft ornaments while drinking and give them away to drinking customers. I thought it about the best non-commercial idea at Christmastime I had ever heard of. Lacquer, yarn, beads, driftwood, glue guns, glitter, the works. I asked Linda if I could join the fun. I had never crafted before, let alone in Oregon Tavern Age country. I simply had to craft.

At 1:15, Linda and Gary walked through the door carrying several totes of crafting supplies. They passed a Christmas tree in the corner that didn’t have a single ornament on it. The holiday spirit was running somewhat slack among the staff, but perhaps crafting would provide the necessary motivation.

Motivation in OTA country is a nefarious word. It must be danced around and insinuated.

I walked over to see contents of the totes. There was even a drill! “I don’t mess around,” said Linda, as she organized her supplies near the tree.

The appointed crafting hour was 1:30 or 2:00. No one seemed to know for sure. Someone named Diane was loosely in charge of the event and was supposed to arrive at the appointed time bringing additional crafting tools and materials, quite possibly even a tiny spot welder.

Miranda, an off duty bartender, came in with beads and yarn and ordered a Bailey’s and coffee.

One thirty rolled around and no Diane. We waited to craft. I ordered a second porter. I asked Linda what would happen if Diane didn’t show.

“Then we’ll drink,” she said.

While we waited, Linda gave me glittered and lacquered sand dollar ornament she had made at a previous Sea Star crafting event. It was one of my most precious non-edible mementos collected in over 20 years of traveling through OTA country. Canned deer was up there, too.

Two came and went and still no Diane. The Dirty Dozen kept going and going. Jim Brown got machine-gunned to death and I teared up a bit.

Terry finished his beer and got up to leave.

“Aren’t you going to craft?” I said.

“Crafting is for morons,” he said and walked out the door carrying his O2 tank.

A few minutes later, The Dirty Dozen ended. I sat there, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting…to craft.

Ten minutes later I left.

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