The official start of the winter solstice is still a month away, but the rain outside will be turning to snow before long. The Weather Channel’s Website is showing a temperature of 34° F. at the moment, but they also show a 100% chance of one to three inches of snow before morning. After breaking my right wrist earlier this year, I am more wary than ever about walking outside once it gets slippery.
A good rule when reading diaries is that if the entry starts with a mention of the weather, then the day must have been a dull one. I can’t report any forward motion on NaNoWriMo today. I logged plenty of time at the keyboard, but just couldn’t feel moved enough to write anything.
I suppose I could say that I am in mourning. I woke up late in the morning and saw Facebook postings from The Athens News and The Athens Messenger. Fire broke out early this morning on W. Union St. in Athens, displacing about 30 tenants and seriously damaging several businesses. My first thought was about a dear friend of mine. She lives in an apartment building on W. Union St., but, to my relief, a block or so away and on the opposite side of the street.
One of the casualties was The Union, a bar that received many dollars from me (and where I put many brain and liver cells to death) during the 1980s. It later became the preferred hangout for my friends and me, mainly because it had a very good jukebox, the beer was cheap, and you could always waste a few quarters on pinball.
The Union seemed to be the type of place where you went when you and your friends met by complete chance. A friend and I were walking on Union St. one winter afternoon, and a mutual friend ours, a young woman whom I had known slightly in high school from the Unitarian youth groups, saw us. We stood on the sidewalk for about 30 seconds, and then one of us (I don’t remember who) said, “The Union?” It was one of those rare occasions when I was actually flush, so I paid for the first pitcher, and I was quite proud to do it.
This woman and I were only in one class together, a class on Gay and Lesbian Issues, which encompassed politics, theology, arts, and biology all in one class, not an easy feat. One afternoon, the professor showed The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), and she burst into tears at the news footage of the paramedics wheeling Milk’s body from San Francisco City Hall. I was sitting next to her, so I put my arm around her and held her hand for the rest of the video. She was still a little shaky when we left the classroom, and there was only one solution that came to my mind. “Union. Drinking. Let’s go.” She agreed.
Which makes me wonder: Where do you go to drown the sorrows of losing your favorite bar? It’s kind of like the shoemaker’s children going barefoot.