Eagle Harbor Web

An unofficial source of Eagle Harbor, Michigan news, views and information.

"Reader Contributions to the "Harbor Web".


"Roy's Place." by Ann Gasperich

Roy's # 5

It's Friiiiidayyyyy !!!. Not just any Friday, but the day before my birthday!! I'm kinda thirsty. It would be real easy to cut out early and head North. Decisions, decisions, decisions. I haven't been able to find anyone willing to go for an early cool one. What to do. I only drink by myself or with someone, and only on days that end in "Y". So, what's my hold up?

Another birthday, sometimes it's difficult to understand the aging process. Years ago, Aunt Izzy would always tell me she never felt her age. When in her 80's she couldn't understand why it took her so bloody long to get out of bed, walk up the stairs, or do anything. Even going to the bathroom seemed to take much longer. She said her mind never felt anything different than it did when she was 20, 30 or even 50. Just the old bones couldn't keep up with her swift mind.

She lived in a building with about 6 units, all had very pleasant tenants and anyone of them would stop by for a chat and tea. Izzy always kept her door open for any unexpected visitor that may happen by. If the door was open, come on in, if closed and you needed to use the bathroom, go ahead.

I remember getting a telephone call from my husband one day. He called to tell me the fire department had been on a fire call to Izzy's apartment building. One tenant had called and reported smelling smoke as if something was burning. The firemen arrived and did the circle tour of the building to determine the source of the smoke.

Any fireman will tell you there are different smells for different fires. We all know what a wood fire smells like, then there is the smell of an electrical fire and the smell of something burning while cooking. The first determination made by the Chief was it wasn't electrical, his nose knows. However there was a bit of a woodsy smell intertwined with that old burnt food.

10 men scoured the building top to bottom. Not finding anything, my husband stopped by Izzy's apartment. She was all excited to see her nephew and invited him to join her and her girlfriend in a high action game of gin. He politely declined. Then he told her that he was there scouting the source of the smoke from the fire call. "OK" she said, "keep looking and let us know if we need to get out."

On his way out of the apartment he noticed a wooden cutting board in the sink. The cutting board looked like it had been sitting on a hot element on the stove.

"Izzy" he inquired, "did you ladies have lunch today?" Her response was something to the effect of, "We were going to have tea and pot pies, but the card game kept us going. The kettle started to whistle so I took it off the burner. Then, I didn't take the pot pies out of the oven in time and the tops burnt. So I put the cutting board on the stove and set the pan on top to cool down the pies before I threw them away. We played another game of gin. Then Marian noticed smoke coming from the stove. The pies were cool enough to throw away, so I did, then I put the cutting board in the sink and ran water on it. Did I remember to shut off the burner? Oh, yes. After this game of cards we are going to Parkside for lunch, would you like to join us?" Shaking his head, he declined and told her it was nice to see her again. Shortly after, the fireman packed up the truck and drove away.

We never see ourselves age. I believe it is not a mental flaw, that it is God's way of letting us grow old gracefully. When at Roy's, back to my roots, I'm still the Harbor Youth I was when I worked there. However, customers don't look to me to clean their plate or create an ice cream cone anymore. These same customers I had as a youth look to me and ask, what I would consider, important questions, and they are looking for real answers, my answer. I also notice, when I'm on a roll, OK, some would say when I'm on my soap box, these same people are actually listening to me. It is difficult to understand the 'elders of the town' now asking for my opinion.

We never see ourselves age, and it still startles me to think people actually listen to me. During my Birthday weekend celebration, I will venture North to visit with all my friends and enjoy the conversation of the youth. It won't be long and the Troubled Youth of the Harbor will a new name.

We really don't see ourselves age, and I truly believe it is a gracious act of God. Some of us are able to selectively remember the good times. There are others that are unfortunate enough only to remember the hard times.

Who was 36 when I was but a troubled (troublesome) harbor youth?

Roy's # 4

Aaaahhh, stress reduction technique number 1 -- head to Roy's Place. It is guaranteed to work lots better than those happy hints on the back of the 'press thumb here' cards that mental health hands out. Oops politically correct, Community Health. You know the card I'm referring to, the little mood ring on a credit = stressed, red = tense, green = normal, and blue = calm. At Roy's place they all have different meanings. Black does not equal stress. Black has one of two meanings, your dead or your the bartender and your hands are as cold as the beer. Red is the most oft seen color. Red is the color all customers can warm up to after they put down their cold beer. Green, classified as normal on the card has not yet appeared. As there haven't been any normal customers at Roy's in decades. Some people do their best to be blue. However only those that drink caffeine can be calm. Caffeine, you know as in coffee or hot chocolate, warm fingers, cold heart?? Moving right along...

My Friday began as all eagerly anticipated weekends do, got any cash to get out of the house?? Yes, it the Friday expense checks are cut!! Way cool, pizza and beer here I come!!! It's been somewhat of a trying week so I look forward to the long quiet ride. That song, something about 'don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you used to', what does that mean when your the only car on a deserted road and a snow snake slithers out from the grave to pull you into his nest?? Cellphone, its roaming and your moaning. Hmm, will that beer taste good or will I be pushing black on the mood ring gone flat. A vehicle approaches that I recognize. Of all the others in the world why does it have to be the car I share my garage with. Lucky, lucky, lucky, that's the name of my three legged dog. Hey, what was the name of that cute little white ball of fur that ran around in the 70's, it only ran on three legs, remember, it was it's front paw that was bad or something?

As I approach Roy's from the west, there is a group of hoodlums just going down the hill. I can tell they're hoodlums by the baggy jackets they wear and the way they cluster in step. Oops again, guess not, they're just the first crew to leave the January Birthday party at Roy's. I stand outside and visit with the second stream of party goers. I'm told I'm late, the big bash has just wound down, but I may be able to find a cupcake if I hurry. Back in side laughter and merriment replace the fading chorus of Happy Birthday.

The bar is full but I find a seat near the end. Quiet conversations already are reminiscing about the birthday dinner, wonderful food and exceptional turn out. I visit and renew friendships with party goers and late comers like myself. Charlie asks what I would like so I order a plate of cheese nachos along with my drink. Hmm, is it a new Charlie or someone I haven't met yet? He's new, just started, seems the likable sort. The kind of person that should be here. Marian delivers my heaping, way heaping cheese nachos. I have to comment to her I wish I could order only 1/2, I'll never finish all of these. As she walks past to head to the kitchen another customer asks about nachos and I offer to share mine. That sure wasn't the city girl in me!

I made a new friend. He is a toot grad who liked the area and stayed. He has a small business and contributes to our economy, we'll let him stay. He and I worked on that order of Nachos forever, thanks goodness there was two of us to attack it. When I looked up, most of the bar had cleared out. I didn't see anyone leave. That happens with good food, drink, and conversation.

Charlie, Stacey, Frank, my new friend and I were the only ones there. We spoke of growing up. The faces of best friends and the memories that go with each. Whether it was a memory of Frank, Stacey or myself, the parties we remember are all the same. The places are the same only the people had different names. Names that each of us recognize from another generation. We spoke about the Pig Roast and how it brought everyone together. From around the world people would arrive for the first sanctioned party since Frisbee. (4th of July doesn't count on this list!) After the laughter and memories one questions still lingered, did they really ever roast the pig?

*Some names have been changed to protect the obvious. *Others names are only a figment of my imagination. *All stories have an once of truth. *I am not always the victim of the actual occurrence, however I may take the blame to let someone else live another day. A quote from Ed Didd , "Annie, when your the talk of the town, some other kid is very happy"

Roy's # 3

Heeeeellllp, I'm going through withdrawals! It's been to long, I can't continue this way, I need a fix.

Nope I haven't decided to go on an 'early winter liver break'. It's because of the Holiday Season. It's been almost 4 weeks since I've been able to visit my favorite place, Roy's. One Friday was the Company Holiday Party, (didn't get home till midnight, good party). The next Friday I was enjoying the company of family and friends in a 'Roy's' in Illinois. This last Friday however, there was no excuse, well, except for staying home and playing with the Christmas gift we bought for ourselves.

It's been so long, I've thought about calling the Fair Maiden Marian to find out what the news is. Roy's caters to such fine people, everyone is like family and we need to keep in touch with each other. Then again, maybe I'm the only one who would consider calling from a million miles away just to tell everyone who cared that I'm alive and well and looking forward to my return. I'd also make inquires about everyone's health and welfare. I understand one of our regulars took a trip to the local horsepital to see the heart veterinarian again. I hope and pray all is well in his household.

I don't have any scoop on anybody. Nothing on Roy/Marian, Dave Fred/Wilma, Barney/Betty, Ralph/Alice, John, or Bruce. I did hear that Liz made it back safely from her holiday. I heard through the grapevine there is someone who hangs out at Roy's that dyed her hair RED. I'm also under quality information that this person has a tendency to remove her shoes while drinking. I can't say if any of this is true, but, I also heard that there were so many people in the Harbor for the Holidays, there was talk of the Peninsula sinking???

By this time all of the vacationers and holiday snowmobilers have gone home. Things are about ready to settle into the winter swing of things. Stacey and Charlie have been given a few days reprieve from working their tail feathers off for the past few weeks. However, the weekend is on its way. What will this Friday at Roy's bring? Will there be seating available for the innies? How many outer skins of the black fiends will be strewn throughout the entry way? Will we need to remove the Darth Vader heads in order to find a place for the pizza? There is only one way to find out. See you at Roy's Friday night!

Roy's # 2

It's a special night at Roy's. Roy and his fair Princess Marian have decided to take a leave of absence for the night. Roy's is left to the capable hands of Stacey and Charlie. Barney and Betty come in after a long hard day of work, looking to find the key to the sauna. Even though Barney and Betty have been around for a few years, they yet to have their own cleanup facilities. Being friends with Roy and Marian, and planning on sharing a fun evening together in the city, Marian offers the use of the sauna. Barney and Betty take the standard two beers to the sauna and return a short while later clean and ready to play.

Meanwhile, bar conversation is the weather. Is Al Niemio going to bring mild temperatures and mounds of snow or mild and minimum snow? Stacey pulls out the snow thermometer from behind the bar. Everyone is interested to see it. Hmmm, I'd guess it's 15" high, looks just like the real thing, and has a special inscription on the back. Those that get to touch it roll it over, look front to back and have the audacity to move the arrow! "We haven't had that much snow this year have we?" Thank you very much, does anyone know where the arrow was supposed to be?

I think the snow stick factory should be a stock company. These little snow gauges are going to take off like those little eggs that have panty hose in them. Another cottage industry is born.

All the decorations are up, the tree is lit and holiday spirit is everywhere. "Hello" greets Stacey, "Nice to see you, have a seat, someone will be with you shortly." Marion and Roy will be sorry they missed this table. The group that just came in is having a business/pleasure dinner. Many are cast extras, but a few have crossed the bridge to innies. They head directly to 'their' table in the new section. This group comes frequently, they're local professionals that enjoy the excellent food and warm atmosphere. Stacey is glowing, they are great tippers too.

The discussion at the tap changes slightly. It moves from weather to deer herds and how they have been affected these last few years. They are down in size, down in number, and there aren't any big bucks around. Dave the Hunter comments on the surprisingly number of large does this year. Liz the Deer Slayer responds with the fact that she has tried to hit a number of them with her car, but they all move to fast. She sped up when she saw two on the side of the road in hopes one would jump out in front of her, but no such luck. Liz already has lessened the herd by three. She is currently trying to break the tie she holds with someone else. She reminisces of one of her deer slaying events in a 1972 Nova, she hit him just right off of the left headlight. No damage to the car, she gut the deer and left it in perfect position for Dave to pick up later.

Roy, Marian, Barney and Betty stop in for a cocktail before heading out to the big city. Marian checks on everything and stops by to visit with the big table in the front. Everyone at the bar is curious as to their plans. You know how that goes. We all have the opportunity to do something out of the routine, but we never do. When someone else does......hmmm, everyone body wants to know everything.

Alice and Ralph just came in, looks like there here for pizza. Oh, here comes Fred and Wilma too. Interesting how these two couples are so similar and so different. The typical, Alice/Ralph, Fred/Wilma type. Fred and Wilma stop by to visit with everyone, order a drink and head into the dining room for a special occasion dinner. Alice and Ralph grab a table, and order a beer and a pizza. I ask how the Christmas shopping is coming along and everyone chimes is with their two cents. Some are doing all of their shopping locally. Some will shop local and mail order the rest, others have already returned from the annual drive to shop in the city.

We talk about our Holiday plans, who's coming and who's leaving. For everyone that won't be here for the Christmas Eve Service by the Sea, there will be two to fill their seat. Christmas in our little berg is special. I recall one year, on the way to the service having five or six deer walking, running, all of them playing on the highway. It was like the raindeer guiding us to the Church. The service starts just before dusk, the snow is falling and everything is Christmas card perfect. We end by singing Silent Night, candles aglow, a tear falls to my cheek. I remember all the important things of Christmas, love and family. This year my seat will be empty, I'll be with my family.

Roy's # 1

Once upon a time -- lets start here, to be sure this is a reflection of only one persons perception of reality --

It's Friday night and I want to go out but, there isn't anywhere to go. I'm tired of the same old lack of conversation at the local establishments. I'm tired of the constant loud bar talk, everyone trying to one up everyone else. It's not that I don't care, I just don't want to hear about it. I've had a tough week. I know you don't want to hear about my trials and tribulations, and I don't want to rehash them.

I want to go to a nice quiet place. I want to go where the beer is cold and there isn't too much booze in my drink. I need a peaceful place where people are who they are and not who they profess to be, where quality conversation exists. I want to listen with interest to something I know nothing of. I want to hear the person across the table. I want to laugh. I want to see friends, relax, and find myself again.

OK, well, that narrows down the dozen places to one, Roy's. What a great place to go, off the beaten path, a little out of the way, and well worth the drive. It's everything I desire. The delightful mixologists don't overpour my drinks. There is excellent base material available upon request, prepared by the high quality kitchen STAFF. Quality conversation can be carried on alone, as in Frank, or in small groups. Music plays somewhere in the background. Topics to grab the attention of all present are discussed. I love it, I always learn something.

The evening dinner business picks up, locals come in to enjoy the same things I do, a visit with friendly 'normal' people. Customers, regulars, locals, the people of Roy's are all of these, but more. What are they? Innies, innies. My term used for the quiet, giggly, conscientious crowd that gathers at Roy's.

Standard Friday Night -- Roy, if not hustling dinners in the PX, is strategically positioned in the most southwesterly seat of the tap. His location allows for a quick glimpse of all who enter. He is cordial(hearty;warm;sincere) to everyone. Seemingly lost in his contemplation, a wry grin appears. Knowing the many worldly concerns he faces daily, I'm never sure if the grin is a reflection of his own musing or one of the inane topics that surround him.

His lovely bride, fairest in the land, fairer than Queen. the ever beautiful Maid Marian. It is said her lovely smile casts a ray of sunshine through the dreary days of winter. I believe, more than her smile, it is the musical notes of her laughter that light the evening.

Second to none are the Staceys. Strange, they all wear the same cloths! They dress alike, act alike, even ask the same questions. They are always cheerful, friendly, and there to serve. Stacey is heartwarming, delightful, and quickly lets you know you're in a special place. Keeping step with Stacey is Charlie. Charlie is the seldom seen or heard from support staff for Stacey. Charlie makes everything look and taste delicious.

Nothing makes the evening more memorable than the full cast of characters. In the singles category we have Dave the hunter, John who agrees with everyone, Bruce with lots of thoughtful insight and commonly a designated driver, Liz the deer slayer, Larry who keeps things going and Harold, who works hard to keep this lovely burg connected with the world. The couples group includes Ralph & Alice, Trixie & Ed, Fred & Wilma, and Barney & Betty.

Frank, as mentioned earlier, shares his little bits of trivia. I'm not sure if he intentionally speaks out loud, is unconsciously thinking out loud, or what. Frank, an odd duck to some, has a wonderfully dry sense of humor buried underneath quips and clips of nothingness. Shh, don't tell, I do enjoy being alone with Frank. He allows my mind to wander aimlessly, rehash bits of nothing until I'm sure he didn't say what I thought I heard. He is a great avenue to a mini vacation.

As is any cast, there are always extras. People who come and go. Many are only there to increase the crowd. However, some extras go through like a cirrostratus, pretty to view, and leave the lasting impression of a severe storm. WHO IS FAIRER THAN THE QUEEN? Who dares to think anyone is more beautiful than I?

Yup, here is the extra in tonight's show. Yada, yada, yada, oh Queenie be quiet, sit down, spend your fortunes, and buy the shack a drink. I politely accept and sit quietly, wearing my own wry grin.

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