Betty's Bar

When I was 11 years old I arrived home from school one day to find a very pregnant lady sitting in our living room. "Hey, your mom said I could stay here last night" she told me. I had seen her before, she was one of my moms friends. She looked like Pocahontas or maybe Chrystal Gale. She had really long straight black hair.

Later mom told us that this lady had been living in a trailer behind Betty's bar, where she worked, and had gotten kicked out so mom took her in. Her baby was due any day now.

We only had a two bedroom apartment, mom had one room and Donna, Joe and I had the other room so our new house guest stayed in the living room. While she was there she cooked and cleaned for us. She even made Lemon Meringue pie one time and it was so good!

I remember going to Betty's bar one time with my aunt Nancy. Nancy wasn't really my aunt, she was a friend of my moms who my grandmother had let live with us. Nancy would stay with us for a while, then grandma would kick her out for some reason or another, and then a few months later, Nancy would be back. She called my grandmother Momma Sarah. But probably one of the reasons that Nancy would get kicked out of my grandma's house was for doing crazy stuff like taking me, a sick 9year old, to Betty's bar in the middle of the day, looking for her boy friend.

Betty's had a reputation. A well deserved reputation. There were bullet holes in the ceiling from one of the many bar fights and the "regular" town folk were afraid to even go into the parking lot of Betty's bar. And the trailer park behind the bar was know for one thing, Prostitution.

As I sat on the bar stool drinking a coke, next to my aunt who was drinking a beer and talking to her boyfriend, I studied the posters hanging all around me on the fist-and-bullet-punched walls. There were a few posters of skinny ladies with big boobs in bathing suites laying on cars or motorcycles but on the wall right by the bar, closest to the door where everyone came in and out of, there was a poster of a rather large lady in a red bikini. This poster captured my attention. The lady on the poster had Loretta Lynn hair and a "I know I'm fat but I'm sexy" kinda smile on her face. I had heard rumor that Betty, owner and name sake of Betty's Bar, was a large lady who liked to service her "clients" out of the large trailer that was right  behind the bar, (I have no idea if this was true, that's just what my grandmother always told me) I figured this poster had to be Betty. Why else would there be a poster of a large, obviously not bikini ready, women on the wall unless she owned the place?

Betty's bar was a part of my home town, a part of my childhood and now a part of Betty's bar was staying at our apartment. Even though she was now 9 months pregnant and homeless, the lady staying with us still had her job tending bar at Betty's.

Her baby boy was born while she was living with us. Not long after he was born she moved back into a trailer behind Betty's. Her baby boy literally grew up in that bar. As soon as he was old enough to hold a pool stick he was playing pool everyday at that bar.

Fast forward to 1994, 16 years later, Betty's bar was no longer called "Betty's" but had changed owners a few times and was now called "The Pub" and my husband's parents were now the owners of The Pub. That bar maid who had lived with us when I was 11 didn't work there anymore but she still lived near by and came in every day to drink beer and play pool. Her son had grown up in that bar and was now a ranked pool player in the state of Florida, traveling to places like Vegas and Daytona for Tournaments. Right before Dean and I got married in September of 1994, and for a few months after, him and I both tended bar at The Pub.The trailers were still in the back and the bullet holes still in the ceiling.


Anj said…
A great glimpse of you! Keep writing! I'm ready to pick up some fingernail droppings.

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