Tuesday, May 4, 2010
However, when Friday afternoon rolled around and I was dismissed from the afternoon lecture, my best friend and I met at the Deer Park Tavern toot sweet for our personal stress seminar.
The Deer Park was on the edge of town on Main Street next to the railroad tracks. The place has been around for a couple of hundred of years and was a magnet for every freak this side of the Mason Dixon line. Talk about eclectic - bikers, hippies, frat brothers, preps, academics, goths - you name it - they would be there come Friday afternoon, and they were all there for one thing - import night.
We were all kindred spirits that congregated at this watering hole based upon one idea - good beer for a low price. When 7:00 PM struck on Friday, all ales made outside of the USA were a dollar a bottle. My compadre and I would both show up with an extra fifteen bucks and were ready for a good six hours of entertainment.
The evening always started quiet and slow. We were usually the first ones there and liked to grab a corner table out of harm's way. Pleasantries would turn to long discussions as the evening waitstaff started filtering in. Slowly the top of our table would clutter with empty bottles (New Castle Ale, Guinness, Heineken) as our talk went from the mundane (how was class...I have a term paper) to more serious matters (Could there be aliens so ugly that we would die when we look at them?).
Soon the sun would begin to set, darkness took over, and the place would be wall to wall people. It would get hot and muggy. The noise of talk and movement would rise to alarming decibels as those left standing would eye our chairs with contempt and jealousy. I often wished we had set up a time elapsed video camera on us for a Friday evening seated there. My guess would be that we would have remained relatively still in our corner as the world warped by around us. It seemed only an instant before it was 12:30 am, time to meander through the crowd to find out where the late-night party was being held. No other haunt seemed to fit us like the Deer Park did - sort of like a comfortable pair of slippers to throw on after a hard day's work.
On a whim, my friend and I returned to the place about ten years after we had graduated. The DP had changed hands and it was quite evident. The place was no longer grimy and smokey, but clean and fresh-scented. No more side bar, no more freaks, and most importantly, no more import night. We ordered a few sandwiches, but my friend demanded we leave when he noticed his burger came with a side slice of cantaloupe. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the beers cost five bucks a piece.