Monday, May 29, 2006

20th Century Chivalry, Yes It Was!

One time I drove home from college to see that smile my dad would get when I walked through the door. Yeah. He sure got it. The whole saloon woke up. Me? I only saw him glowing, but I could hear the old guys talking.

“Uh-oh, Geno, here comes the boss!”

“Yeah, home from college better get out a twenty.”

“Wait, she’s coming behind the bar for a kiss, better make it two hundred.”

“You guys,” I laughed, not taking my eyes off my father, “I didn’t come for money. This man hung the moon for me. Don’t you think that’s enough?”

I kissed my dad on the cheek once and once more for good measure, and just as I did a fight broke out. It was between one young guy I sort of knew and some tall lanky stranger they said later was from Detroit. He was just passing through.

The fight didn’t last long. One punch and the stranger was down. Jim, the stocky guy I knew was back to his beer. The tall stranger with the black wiry hair was trying to get up. My dad, a deputized sheriff, walked around the bar, gently picked up the guy by the collar and walked him to the door.

“What did you say to him?” I asked my father.

“I showed him the way to the LL saloon where I’m sure they’d be happy to serve if he’s still thirsty.”

“Oh.”

Still curious, I walked around to ask Jim, the young man who had started and ended the single-punch fight, what it was about. I sat down beside him and ordered a coke.

He told me plain out, as is the way in a redneck saloon.

“He wanted to know your name, Maribeth, and I thought it wasn’t my place or proper for me to say. I told him to ask you or to ask your father. He didn’t like my answer so he pulled back to punch me. I took my shot, before his punch landed.”

I thanked him for protecting my honor.

It was 20th century chivalry, Yes it was. In a redneck saloon in Ottawa, Illinois.
−me strauss Letting me be

10 comments:

Cheryl said...

Wonderful!

ME Strauss said...

Cheryl,
I was at your blog writing a comment when you wrote this. How cool is that? :)

Mama Mouse said...

Chivalry exists ... and can be found in unusual places. And just maybe a redneck saloon ISN'T an unusual place to find it!!

ME Strauss said...

Yes, Mama,
There was lots of chivalry in that saloon, possibly more there than I've seen in most place. My dad always said that a poor drunk was a finer man that a rich drunk any day.

Doug said...

That's where you'll find it.

ME Strauss said...

You are so right, Doug.
Wanna go have a beer?

michael said...

Great story, Liz.
Guys like that are almost non-existent these days. Sad.

~m

ME Strauss said...

Aw, Michael,
There's you, now isn't there?
You might not throw a punch, but I bet you have your own form of chivalry.

Doug said...

I'm buyin', Liz.

(recovering redneck)

ME Strauss said...

Good deal,
Where shall I pick you up? We'll drive down there. No need to recover. Rednecks are good people.