Oregon Tavern Age: Scenes

Three Spot, Turkey’s resident OTA cat and chief mouser, emerged from behind the bar and stood in front of the door. He’d just lapped up a saucer of Hamm’s and nibbled some road kill chili and wanted out to go accost the turkeys and hummingbirds. When he herds the turkeys across the bridge or tries to paw the hummingbirds in flight, it really fires up the regulars. It’s better than NASCAR on TV.

I got up to let him out. I opened the door. He wouldn’t budge. I sat down. He returned to his saucer and meowed. The son of a bitch wanted more Hamm’s! I bought him one, cracked it open, and poured some in the saucer. He lapped up the lager and bolted for the door. I got up and let him out. Then we all waited.

The talk at Turkey’s turned to whales, specifically dead ones that wash up on the local beaches, and the legality of harvesting parts of the whales, for say crafting, witchcraft or musical instruments. Whale talk was madly leaping about, and I heard someone down the bar say that a couple of regulars had once cut the penis off a dead whale and brought it into Turkey’s for display! What? I turned toward the general direction of where that story came from and then everyone clammed up. Very hush hush. I didn’t press it. I knew it was true and didn’t need any more details for confirmation.

Gary told me another Osprey story. He was dating some woman and she had invited a tree hugger friend over for supper at Gary’s house. An Osprey dropped a lamprey eel on the lawn. It was still alive! Gary wanted to grill it up right then and there but the tree hugger insisted he put the lamprey in a bucket of water and dump it back in the ocean. Gary complied.

Overheard at the Sea Star Lounge on Free Pool Sunday: “Ancient Egypt. That’s where Bigfoot got sly. They were stealing our women, interbreeding, and we had to strike back.”

A quasi Bigfoot believers club meets regularly at the Sea Star and its members often regale me with stories of their eyewitness accounts and arguments of science that prove the creature’s existence. One of the members said that when he was a youth living in Bigfoot country in Washington, he saw one run down a slope while hunting with his father near Mt St Helens. He also said he had an Native American friend in high school whose mother grew up in a remote area inhabited by a family of Bigfoot. The human family would leave offerings of fresh vegetables so the creatures wouldn’t trample the garden. The woman said the Bigfoot woman had “pendulous breasts.”