Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Road To Nowhere/Beer Run!

Sam and I got our state meeting in for baseball at Dublin-Jerome High School last night, making the 180 mile round trip, and arriving home about 8:30pm. Today a hint of Spring...50 with rain moving in, and 54 tomorrow with more rain...winter back for the weekend. Speaking of last night...DAMN! I missed Emperor Obama's NON State of the Union Speech. I did catch a flash of it, and saw that rubber faced hag Nancy Pelosi sitting behind him along with VP Joe "The Plagiarist" Biden...What a Collection of Criminals....Hang Em' All!
Continuing my look the middle of nowhere travels that I started yesterday.

After my stint in the Air Force, then living in upstate New York for awhile...I returned to Celina in the fall of 1973. This began what is without a doubt the wild portion of my life. I had left my factory job at the Huffy Bike factory, and was working as a janitor at the local school district...I planned on going back to college on the GI Bill, but wasn't ready just yet...sure I was 24 years old, but the Air Force had stunted my party I was working mid day shift and hanging around my favorite watering hole, The Red Door{see April 2008 posts} night my buddy Mike Schilling and I broke up a fight between some punk from Chicago and the Door's owner Wayne Holleman...Wayne had taken over daily management from his son, and really did not like "running" a bar, especially one like the Red Door, which catered to the 18 to 25 crowd, and anybody under drinking age(which was 18 in Ohio at that time for beer), that could sneak through the front door. Wayne liked the way I handled myself kicking this guy's ass out of the place...and sat down and offered me the chance to Manage the Door....being bored with cleaning up after Junior High and Elementary kids, and knowing my future was not there...I says..."When do you want me to start? and How Much are you gonna pay me?" The next 2 years were the stuff that could result in many stories and probably some jail time if the Statute of Limitations had not run out...nothing violent, no known felonies, but just a good old Hell Raising Time...not all of it legal.

The Kansas City Coors Run_______

After I started at the Red Door, we collected a pretty good band of brothers working and hanging around there....some of the guys like Rick Pearson and Clint Thompson had went off to Ohio University where Nick Hromish and I would join them later...but a close nit bunch that included Nick, Jim Olson, Rick Tester, Randy Winkeljohn, Bob Jones, and some others hung around Celina, and made "The Door" our home away from...or in me and Tester's case, it became our home...Hell I would be known to fall asleep/pass out in the upstairs office on many nights that first year I worked there and wake up ready to go the next afternoon.

Tester was my main bartender, Jim Olson, a radio DJ from North Dakota, was our weekend record spinner, and Hromish was my part time bartender and full time pain in the ass drinking a group and with a few other regulars we would make dozens of runs just for the Hell of it...they included weekends in Cincinnati to take in the Reds double headers on Sunday{yes they played 2 on Sunday back then}... going to Illinois to buy a Blue Tick Coon Hound on a whim, or just head off fishing or Hell Raising....

Coors Beer______

Coors Banquet Beer was/is a legend out west, and back in the mid 1970s you had to travel west of the Missouri to drink it on tap or purchase it by bottle and can. Our big sellers at the Red Door were Pabst{PBR} and Strohs....Miller Lite was just coming in to it's own...but the Coors legend was still in our one week we got a burr in our asses and decided to make a run west to collect a few cases, bring it back and sell it for a buck a can. Now of course this was illegal as Hell..we were selling our regular brands for about 60 cents a can{no bottles allowed in the Red Door, much too dangerous a prospect}...we would run to Kansas City, grab 40 or 50 cases, bring it back, keep what we wanted and sell the rest at the RD for a buck each...gas and beer paid for with some to spare, what could be more simple?

So on a Friday night in the Spring of 1975 we closed down the Door at 2:30pm...and 5 of us, me, Tester, Olson, Hromish, and a young bartender named Dave Slorpe, hopped in Nick's Buick Land Yacht and headed west on I-70 towards Indy, St. Louis, and Kansas City....a trip it was. 12 hours later we crossed into Kansas City, Kansas, from Missouri and stopped at the first Carry Out....a cooler full of 8 ounce bottles, and 40 cases of cans in Nick's trunk, we turned it around and headed back east on I-70....we arrived home at 3AM Sunday morning...24 hours, 40+ cases of beer, no sleep and a few beers under our belts later{Nick stayed sober for once, since we let him drive the entire trip, going and coming}. I have done a few things more crazy in my life, but to tell the truth, most were not half the fun.

We sold, illegally of course, a few cases, can by can, at the Red Door, but to tell the truth, we split most of the beer up and hauled it off to our various refrigerators....40 cases divided by 5, 20 something guys like us didn't last long....and the Coors? Never did think it was really anything special, but it was the trip, not the beer, that remains embedded in my brain....

The old gang is spread and Nick and Tester still live around the lake, in my case, after being away for several years, Olson is back in North Dakota...Nick and I still get with Olson once a year, usually for a Viking or Twins weekend in Minnesota, on occasion he comes back here and we head to Cincinnati...I don't see Tester, Winkeljohn Jones, or the other guys as much as I would like to, but the memories, the crazy memories, from that 1973-1976 period will last a life time. And more important, we all have survived well into our 50s...which is amazing in itself.

A local baseball meeting in Van Wert tonight, and more "Nowhere" stories later in the week....

back later

photos described-Coors Banquet Beer, the desire of our Trip to Nowhere...from May 2000 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati left to right Houseworth, Olson, and Hromish...feeling no pain, but we weren't driving, so who cared?...Years before me and Olson at one of our Road Trips, this one in June 1975 to Florida, Daytona and Disney World...Nick and me from the Bar Stool Open in August 2008...and me and Rick Tester and his classy Tee at the 40th Red Door Reunion last April.


Shrinky said...

Oh, I so envy you! I have only one friend left from that era, my bestest buddy Little Ally - when she and I are together, we never tire of recounting our adventures of our single days. We often worked and lived together, certainly double dated countless times, and spent a very memorial time one year in New York. Friends like these are priceless, aren't they? Great photo's btw, cute!

Larry said...

What's that old aphorism? It's not the destination that matters; it's the journey that counts.

Sarge Charlie said...

No sweat pat, I missed the one;s speach alsos, my wife wanted to see howswives of orange county so I watched them instead.......

Law and Order Teacher said...

Sounds like a good trip down memory lane. I feel your pain about stunting your party time, although I drank so much liquor in the AF that I haven't drank any since. I do drink my share of beer now though. I hope you are enjoying your memories. I enjoy reading about them. Thanks for sharing.

As for BO, I took a pass.

FHB said...

Having grown up with it, it was always hilarious to think of you guys goin' so nuts over Coors. But then this story reminds me of my first trip out to Harriman, bringin' a trunk load of Yuengling from PA for Mushy and his gang. Fun times. Now they sell it there, but I still have to bring a sew cases home to Texas. I think I have two cases left from the last trip. Need to drink it up, in time for the next one.