Oregon Tavern Age: Holiday Party Prepping

Willie Nelson’s “Frosty the Snowman” plays.

I’m sitting at a table in my local OTA joint with my back to a real Doug fir Christmas tree decked out in lights and decorations.

OTA elves are prepping for the holiday party, which starts in a few minutes. Someone brought two dozen deviled eggs for the potluck. They have a shitload of items for the holiday raffle. I really do need a Crown Royal scarf!

An Andy Williams schmaltz holiday tune plays.

A tasty Oregon porter whets my appetite for dark beer.

Several homeless people hang around outside in 40-degree weather and whipping winds. They are wearing Christmas-themed garments.

That reminds me of something from previous day when I drove past a homeless encampment. Someone displayed at least a dozen tiny live Christmas trees potted in coffee cans around a tent. A few had balls and tinsel in their branches. It really got to me.

A heavy metal version of “Carol of the Bells” plays.

I scored at a Goodwill earlier in the day: a two-CD set of classic and obscure soul Christmas music. Sheer gold! I bet you didn’t know the Ohio Players released a seasonal song. I sure didn’t! It’s called “Happy Holidays” but not the classic one most of us know. You will not believe the sweet gentle groove of this track. Listen to it now! It’s eight minutes long!

More OTA elves enter and start prepping. Shit, I didn’t know elves smoked and drank vodka! Christ, they’re digging into the deviled eggs before the party starts!

My mind returns to a Christmas from eons ago, when the only Christmas card I received was from Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill. That made me laugh. I kept it for decades. You think Mike Johnson sends out Christmas cards?

I saw a dead coyote along a road the other day. Five minutes later, I saw a live one in a field. That juxtaposition seems worth pondering.

Charlie Brown Christmas music plays.

I helped a friend cull his liquor cabinet a few days ago. The weird fruit brandies and liqueurs had to go. The homeless men and women of my neighborhood will at least be drinking better booze this holiday season.

A strange older man walks out wearing a green stocking cap emblazoned with NYQUIL across the top. NYQUIL?

Everyone knows everyone here. I even know a few people. There is family here.

The party is about to begin. Time to leave. I’ll enjoy it in my mind.