Oregon Tavern Age: First Aid

Rain pummeled the landscape. I took refuge in my local OTA dive to drink a dark beer, write fiction and ride out the storm.

It was Sunday around noon, and NFL games played on television.

An amiable female bartender served drinks and chatted up everyone. She always exudes a fantastic vibe and occasionally recounts with quirky humor how drunk she got the night before.

Multiple OTAs worked the slots. Two OTA women ate weird fried food at a table.

A homeless man sat in a corner and charged his phone. This joint allows this sort of thing and that’s why I patronize it on a regular basis.

Boring soft rock drifted through the joint. I don’t need to ever hear a Cranberries song again.

A bearded and mustachioed freak, verging on OTA, held loud court at the bar, blathering total nonsense about peppers. He polluted the low key ambiance much like Republican members of Congress pollute the idea of sane governing.

Their latest proposal: cut spending on Amtrak. Yeah, really give it to those train people! For as long as I live I will never understand the Republican hatred of light rail and passenger trains.

An elderly man wielding a cane entered and sat at the bar. The bartender called out to him. She obviously knew him as a regular. Larry, I think his name was. Larry, a great OTA name. Kaden will never be one.

The bartender immediately cried out to Larry about an injury to his hand. He was gashed and bleeding! She quickly fetched a first aid kit and whipped around the bar to treat the injury.

I should mention that she served him a draft beer first! Yeah, of course she did!

She donned latex gloves and went to work. They discussed the nature of the wound but I didn’t catch the details. Probably a can opener on a can of chili.

Five minutes later she had him bandaged and he was drinking his beer and walking toward a slot machine.

It was a first in OTA country for me, first aid.

I was moved. I would have been substantially more moved had she had the old timer bite down on a Keno pencil and rinsed the wound with Jack Daniels. And take a belt from the bottle before the procedure. To kill the pain.

I wanted to see that bad.