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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Papa’s Bar – 297 word flash

When I was sixteen my Dad came home from deployment and announced he was going to retire at 20 and open a bar near the base. He wanted to convert an old house, keep the back yard and turn the front yard into parking. I remember Mom looking at him for a long moment before saying, “That’s a hard life and zoning could be a problem for that type of location. Will you ever be home in the evening?” For the next six months, once a week, we had a meal in a bar so he could check the competition.

I don’t remember if there were zoning problems when he found his old house. He had contractors gut the first floor and turn it into a homey, inviting space with long bar and commercial kitchen. The upstairs they opened up into a big family room, with dining area and even a double bed. They named the bar “Papa’s” which I thought was ridiculous. I didn’t know at the time my children would be the one’s eating in that family room and playing in the back yard if they wanted to see Papa when we came to visit.

Years later when my father died we got the following note in the mail:

To Papa’s family, The first time I entered Papa’s Papa introduced himself, asked my name and never forgot it. When I was homesick, that’s where I went, not to drink, but to chat with Papa about life and the military. He did the same for all who entered. He might not have been home with you, but he was there for us. I hope you know he served until the end. Thanks for sharing him.

My wife and I now run Papa’s. She knows everyone’s name.

 

Written in response to the prompt, papa’s bar, for Carrot Ranch Literary rodeo.

Share A Cold One

In my life, there are a lot of beer drinkers.  A greeting when we visit someone, or they visit our house, is, “Ya wann’ beer?”  Our second fridge in the garage has a few kinds of beer in it.  Some of the new exotic stuff for my daughter and good old-fashioned Budweiser for my husband.  My son has just switched to Miller, and to do away with gluten I have switched to hard cider.  There’s nothing better on a hot steamy day, than a cold refreshing long neck. (For you non beer drinkers, that term refers to the neck on the bottle.)

When my husband and I first started dating, he and his co-workers went our for Friday happy hour without fail.  Sometimes there were just six of us, other times there would be close to twenty.  I would start watching the clock at my job, waiting for the phone call to tell me where everyone was meeting.  That was fifteen years ago and I can still tell you some of the exact conversations that took place and what we laughed about.  The crowd dwindled when one of the young ladies got pregnant, a couple guys decided to loose weight, and others changed jobs. We miss those days, and the closeness of that group.  We have a reunion twice a year just to stay in touch.

We have some very close friends and relatives that have had the opportunity to travel Europe and parts of Asia.  The young men involved rate the countries according to how well they like the beer.  I haven’t heard much about food except the meals in Germany.

My grade school chum and I get together for lunch about every three weeks.  We don’t sit in a chain restaurant with a cup of coffee, we sit in a bar, eat chicken wings or burgers and drink beer.  Yes, there is now gluten-free beer.  We have a lot of laughs, we tell each other our secrets, new and old (which no one else can hear over the music) and we forget our responsibilities for awhile.  We talk about current events and the family members we have buried.  We’ve known each other a long time, she’s my best friend.

And don’t forget it’s football season.  Who in their right mind would watch a football game without a cold beer to go along with the snacks.  I know, a lot of people would, but generally not in my realm.  Go Bills!  (We never lose hope!)

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