The Bar Chronicles: #24, ‘Tonight Was For The Birds’

“My turn to pay.”

“No, I’ve got it, my wallet is already out.”

How easy was that? Right up front, the bill is a nonissue. One of us steps up and picks up the tab. It’s a badge of honor to pay the bill, especially at Caverly’s Irish Pub, where the beer is cheap and the ambience suits us perfectly.

Caverly’s is our ‘home’ for ‘Bar Nights’, we set up shop in the back room, away from the din of bar talk and the hoopla of an occasional dart game. Tonight, even before we toasted, the evening conversation began with some slight complaining, bemoaning is a better word, maybe bitching is better yet, about the lack of vocational courses in the general public schools.

“What happened to auto mechanics and shop classes? It’s not part of the general curriculum today!”

“Who’s going repair the cars and do the plumbing?”

“What about home economics?”

“And they don’t teach cursive handwriting, anymore”, I added without thinking. Heads turned and silence prevailed, but only for a moment.

“Handwriting? Who the Hell writes anymore, anyway,” I was reminded.

“Well, they should!” There I was, the ‘old man’ in me rallying to the defense of ‘how things used to be’, the ‘glory days’, as Springsteen coined them.  My mother had beautiful handwriting, thanks to the strict nuns and her Catholic education, as limited as it was.  But, I digress.

Enough ‘bemoaning’, there’s beer to be drunk. We clinked our bottles and glasses, toasted to good health, wealth and happiness, and began anew.

Do you feed our feathered friends?? It’s a popular pastime with some ‘Bar Nighters’, and the Baltimore Oriole is one of the regular visitors to their feeders. A bright orange feeder and a healthy portion of jelly attracts these beautiful specimens, apparently.

(Photo by Tom Lathrop, a Bar Nighter)

I say, ‘apparently’, because I wouldn’t know. I lost interest in bird feeding years ago when my family was traumatized by a red tail hawk crashing onto our bird feeder and flying off with a mourning dove clutched in its talons. The kids were young as we watched in horror when the hawk lighted on an overhead branch and consumed the stunned bird, piece by feathered piece. Sometimes, Nature’s way is disgusting.

The squirrel challenge is another reason not to bother with a feeder. These furry creatures can make a grown man look silly, as they outsmart every system we devise to stop them from intruding.  They wore me down.

Some ‘Bar Nighters’ might think they’ve put up the proper defenses against these critters: a long, thin stainless steel wire to a raised feeder; a tipping feeder that closes under the squirrel’s weight; or my favorite, cover the pole with sticky substance, honey or mollasses, but then you attract ants. What’s your remedy?

By the way, if you’re counting, the next gathering will be our 25th Bar Night, a milestone. I thought about making a calendar, ‘The Men of Bar Night’.  Maybe I should take a vote.

The beers are done and we call it a night. I need to get home to fix a dripping faucet. It’s hard to find a good plumber nowadays, y’know! They don’t teach it in school…

Steve

May 2019

Published by

srbottch

Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative. My essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my essays, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Enjoy the run!

18 thoughts on “The Bar Chronicles: #24, ‘Tonight Was For The Birds’”

  1. Steve,
    Your conversations say a lot about our history and the memories we value.
    Thanks for sharing the trials and tribulations of “Men’s Bar Night”!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Michael. We’d love to have you join us but, to your benefit, you’re not an ol’ geezer, an ol’ codger, an ol’ fart, yet. You’re just too young. But you’ll get there one day, and if we’re still doing our thing, well, you’d be welcome to join…if we can e en remember what ‘our thing’ is!!!😂 thanks for reading and commenting, Mike.

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  2. Hi Steve,
    Once again we’ll said.
    We do feed the birds, and the chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits too.
    Very few orioles though. Must consult!
    Thanks again.
    Jim Murdock

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And those little critters love you for your generosity, Jim. I try to send them your way, although Daisy does enjoy watching them romp in the backyard. Thanks, Jim.

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  3. That little bird is so pretty. But we also have squirrels who can master any bird feeder and I’m afraid to say they came from the USA originally. Someone brought a few over and they have hounded out the native red squirrels. They also dig up spring bulbs and nibble flowers, but people still love feeding them in parks, though they shouldn’t be hungry with all the bird food they get.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That little bird is a Baltimore Oriole and my friend, neighbor and fellow ‘Bar Nighter’ attracts them to his feeder on a regular basis, this year. The grey squirrel is one species in the US. We also have the red, some white and an occasional all black squirrel which are beautiful. And while I mock the squirrel, I do enjoy watching them, myself, when they play in our backyard. Do you have chipmunks? Those tiny creatures are quite resourceful and fun to watch. We get a fix or two that manages to cross our yard and the ever beautiful but nuisance white tail deer. Thank you for your nice comment.

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  4. For those of us who have reached our venerable dotage, we could find ourselves still of some use or at least at an interesting advantage in a world where no one knows how to write cursive.
    Think of the Navajo Code Talkers, we could win a war…well, at the very least, we could more easily pull the wool over our kids watchful eyes with secret communications and cryptic plan making when we break the rules. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another fun evening, Steve. I agree with you about the handwriting. It is like reading skills. You need these basic skills in place before you move on to higher things. You can’t build on nothing. I tell children who tell me that they prefer movies to books that if no-one wrote books there would be no stories and, thus, no movies only reality TV. I also feed the birds and if our resident owl takes one out, I consider that to be part of nature [smile].

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Robbie. A girl at my crossing post always carries a book. She loves to read. I commented that when you read, your mind’s eye can take you everywhere. Whereas, when a story is presented to you on screen, you’re locked in to the one view. Of course, visuals are effective, too, but reading is ‘la crème de la crème! (did I say that right?) 🤓 Thank you for your comment, Robbie.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, the curse of cursive writer. Lovers and haters. I’ll never forget the kidlet coming home from Grade 3, Day 1 and announcing that she wouldn’t be going back to school. “Print, print, print. All we do is print!”. 😀 So I phoned the school and soberly relayed this to the teacher. [Pause…] “Tell her if she comes back to school, I’ll teach her how to write.” And so she did.

    I don’t feed the birds, pigmunks, or the undead squirrels. My neighbors do that. My garden is used for dining and storage. I accept my role.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your role. And, the teachers struggled to teach me proper handwriting, but my writing is terrible. It doesn’t help that my hand shakes, my eyes are poor and I’m dead in one ear and. Any hear in the other. I just sign my name with two initials and a line. 🙀🤪

      Liked by 1 person

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