Honeymoon in a bar

And now for this week’s Slide of the Week: HONEYMOON IN A BAR, SOUTHWESTERN, PENNSYLVANIA, 1957

This slide is marked “first dance.” I have no idea who this just-married couple is, but I do know that the bar has a mesmerizing interior. Knotty pine paneling, cozy brick fireplace, a dead deer head and double spot lit sailfish, which by the way, is protected by a rope trimmed barrier. That’s a good thing because stuffed sailfish damage very easily

Speaking of sailfish, the one that hung in my grandfather’s den is one of my earliest childhood memories. He must’ve caught it himself – he went on a lot of fishing trips. When my grandparents moved they lent it to a friend that displayed it in the backroom of his bar until someone walked out the back door with it.

When I first got my own place I couldn’t wait to have a sailfish hanging on the wall. It was 1982; I was nineteen. Nothing could possibly be a better compliment to my living room full of Chinese modern and Western Ranch furnishings fresh from the thrift stores of the Pomona Valley. As fate would have it I found a huge sailfish for sale in the Recycler. A friend drove me out to Simi Valley to pick it up in his 1965 Plymouth Satellite Convertible that he had just gotten the day before. We got out there, struck a deal then carefully loaded it on the car. It was a warn summer night so the top was down. We pointed the sword out over the trunk, tied some rope around the fin and we were on our way. I held the skinny part of the body between the bucket seats. The tail was right in front of us.

Speeding home along the Ventura Freeway we had a turbulent surprise– a blow out! Before the car had hobbled to the slide of the road my friend said “Oh no, I don’t have a spare! I don’t even have a key to the trunk!”

As I sat there — sailfish in hand, he walked to a call box and called a tow truck. When the tow man arrived he kindly asked me to get out of the car. I kindly explained that I couldn’t because the sailfish was very fragile and we had no way to tie it down anymore without damaging it. He said that it was against the law to tow a vehicle with someone in it. What was I to do? I had just spent $350.00 on this thing and wasn’t about to let it be ruined. I tried begging, then bribing the driver. Nothing worked. He just kept saying no. Finally, after a half hour of going back and forth, I forced a tear to roll down my cheek and in my best whimper said “my grandfather caught this for me when I was three years old, (pregnant pause) and he died yesterday!” My ploy worked and the sailfish made it home unscathed.

Here’s to the driver, that tear and to you!!