excerpted from “Promises of Grace”
Two rooms filled with memories of underage drinking, late nights, sex in the parking lot, and old tunes on the juke box. How strange to be back. It had changed. The drinking age was now 21, and the once seedy tavern was now a fancy restaurant. Early American decrepit was replaced by preppy as only Long Island’s North Shore can do. Duck hunting was the theme, what else would you expect. The bar itself was new, but still rustic. All the old, torn bar stools were replaced by rich woods and plush seat covers. The walls were hunter green, and a big stone fireplace filled one wall in the dining area. The lighting was low, as if lit be candlelight. Tables, now with tablecloths, and chairs were dark wood. The chairs were comfortably padded, but not too comfortably. After all, turnover was still important. It was a new restaurant decorated to look very old. And let’s face it, the building was very old, and it needed some work, especially the outside. The prices were very modern however.
I was early, so I decided to have a drink. As I sat down, I noticed that the mirror behind the bar hadn’t changed, even if the reflections had.
I ordered a Bass Ale on tap. As I got used to the darkened room, I began to look around. Seemed like a small crowd for a Friday. “Oh well, it’s early,” I thought. The beer was cool, and the air conditioning felt good. I forgot just how humid New York could be in the summer.
Halfway through my second beer, Malcolm and Diane came in. After hugs all around, Malcolm said, “Let’s line up a table.”