Oregon Tavern Age: Pre Christmas

It was ten in the morning on the first Monday in November. Rain fell hard. My car was in the shop for routine service. I had time to kill so why not kill it an OTA joint in Oregon City? The cinderblock Coney Island Tavern was the perfect place.

I sat at a table and drank an IPA and wrote a love letter in longhand to someone I blew it with years ago. She absolutely loves OTA joints and shares my sadness that OTA country is on the verge of extinction. Luckily, Oregon City remains a holdout. But for how long?

A game show played on television.

Three old timers but not OTA old timers sat at the bar. One drank a double vodka on the rocks. Another drank whiskey, neat. The last man drank a cheap beer.

They were talking and sipping their drinks. Sometimes the female OTA bartender interjected a comment.

First the conversation was about cars and a miracle octogenarian mechanic they knew. The son-of-a-bitch could fix anything. Proof was the 1978 Ford marooned in blackberries for three decades. He installed a new carburetor, juiced it with some special homemade concoction, and the damn thing started up and he made $500! He had plenty of other vehicles stashed in the blackberries that he could repair and sell. He’d invite a few neighbors to check out the blackberry car lot and then wheel and deal.

They segued into domestic chores. One man said he’d just put up his fake Christmas tree a few days before Halloween. It had built-in lights and was a real beauty. His buddy said he just left his tree up all year. Why not? It made him feel good.

They lamented the absence of the smell of a real tree, but they plugged in pine scent machines and that was fine.

I wrote and wrote and listened to the men. All of them needed to light up their brush piles. One had to pick up a bale of hay. Another was thinking about going elk hunting.

The bartender switched the game show over to Fox News. The lunatic talking heads were blathering about the red Republican wave they expected on Tuesday.

As soon as that noise pollution commenced, the three men finished their drinks and left one at a time. They might have been Fox News diehards but even they didn’t want to listen to that shit in a bar.

Neither did I. I wrapped up the letter, drained the IPA, and walked into rain.