thinking about what a friend had said



what I remember about the Sportsman’s. There’s a
photo somewhere, I think Mardi has it. Bjerk and I at a
table in the bar. Bjerk is slouched in his chair, arms
folded, looking worn out. I am obviously weary, have
my elbow on the table, my head rested in my palm. It
was likely a Saturday, we are a little red after a long
day in the sun, on the water, in the boat. A full pitcher
of beer sits untouched on the table in front of us. It
wouldn’t be the last one that night.


Walking through the door, Louie would spot me and
have a pitcher of Schmidt pouring for us before we
grabbed a table. Three dollar pitchers. A sign that said
fifty-cent taps weekday happy hours. Vowing to stop
by for ‘em while on vacation, never stopping by except
on weekend nights. Mardi stood, extended her arm to
me where I sat. “Dance,” she commanded, and we
danced. There really wasn’t a dance floor, but we
danced anyway.


Here are the songs we always played on the jukebox:

1.    Family Tradition

2.    Hello Walls

3.    Little Suzy

4.    Six Days on the Road

5.    There’s A Tear In My Beer


Donnie, the owner, schmoozed us, pulled up a chair
and talked our ears off. Crew cut, glasses, and a big
smile. He made you feel special when he spoke with
you, you were not just another customer. Usually it
was talk of something jovial, something about
drinking, something about carousing. This night he was
saying something about a communist cell made up of
teachers in some South Dakota small town in the
fifties. Donnie and some of the other citizens ran the
teachers out of town. I wanted to say McCarthy
but I
was getting drunk. And Donnie was a nice guy,
gracious host, and let us – even those of us underage -
stay and drink after close. He locked the door, dimmed
the lights, drew the shades, and we stayed well after
hours. McCarthy
. I did not say it, no.