Oregon Tavern Age: Waiting

A Wednesday in Winter. Almost noon. I’m sitting in Oregon Tavern Age country waiting on a friend and drinking an IPA.

A few seconds earlier, the female OTA bartender said she saw me on TV last night, the OPB documentary about Vortex I, the only state-sponsored rock festival in American history. It went down outside Estacada in the summer of 1970 and I published a book about it in 2004. I was the expert in the documentary because I know more about this far out event than any other person and will always hold that title.

Teena Marie’s “Lovergirl” plays on the jukebox. Who chooses that song at this time of day or this time of year?

I’m sitting at my usual back table. At the bar, the only other patron in the joint, is a rotund OTA man drinking a double shot of something brown and chasing it with a pint of beer.

To my right, a representative from Oregon Lottery restocks Keno cards and pencils.

A vampire-killer show is playing silently on television.

I catch some of the OTA man’s conversation with the bartender. He talking about a special casserole he makes every now and then.

It occurs to me that I rarely hit OTA country anymore. Blame it Elmer the madcap husky. I’d rather hang out with him and walk around. I’m writing in my mind like a madman with him pulling me along. He leads me into different kinds of stories than those that unfold in OTA joints, you know like encountering homeless men riding bicycles under a full moon.

One day I’ll stop writing about OTA life. But not yet. It still produces an interesting story now and then.

My friend just walked in. She waves and walks my way. We’ll catch up and plot something fun.