I Need a Drink

Frankfort Tavern, aka “Gracie’s”

When I was a kid back in the nineteen fifties Mom often sent me to look for Dad. It was always on a Sunday afternoon. I knew exactly where to look for him. At the end of our block just a half-dozen houses away from home was a tavern. Dad enjoyed nursing a nickel draft while watching his White Sox play ball. Taverns were a big part of neighborhood life. In my book, Jun-e-or, Reflections of Life in the Nineteen Forties and Fifties I tell a few stories about taverns.

As I grew older, I began to notice that there were taverns in every town we traveled through. My Grandfather spent a lot of  time in a small country store tavern in Michigan. Taverns were places where people went to meet other people. The need for social contact is strong especially when you work in a field by yourself and never see a soul. In my Dad’s case his need to watch a baseball game drove him to seek out a TV. In that era, taverns were ground breakers and used a TV set to draw customers. It worked.

The other day, as I walked through Frankfort, I recalled those early days. I wondered what life was like in this tiny country town of German immigrants. How many taverns did they have? For certain, there was one. It is still in business and doing well. Currently called the Frankfort Tavern, it went by the name of Gracie’s for decades. Why? Because a woman named Gracie owned and operated the place. On the same street, there are three more taverns. All three are inside a place of business. The second oldest is the Frankfort Bowl. No self-respecting bowling alley would be without a bar. The other two are in modern restaurants.

Frankfort Bowl

The number of bars grows as one leaves the historic district. Three blocks North is the Stray Bar. It is only three years old. The adventurous owner started his business just as the bottom fell out of the economy. The bar is doing well, and is my favorite. Next door to the Stray is another restaurant bar. After that the closest is a mile away in either East, West, and Northerly directions.

When I moved to Frankfort, the population was about three thousand souls and the few bars in the historical district served our needs. Today, we are sixteen thousand strong and we need more bars to soothe our stressed souls.

Smokey Barq, aka Kansas Street Grill, aka Tavern on the Green

 

Francesca’s Fortunato, aka Bier Stube

Fire Fly Air Force-Chapter 18

Chapter 18.

Morty raced home, and found Gracie on guard on the pillow above Ben’s head.

“I need your help.”

“What can I do?”

“I need a bed sheet, two clear glass bottles, and some twine.”

The two of them scurried about the house looking for materials.

“If we do this right, my idea will work,” he said, “If we do it wrong, well, we can’t do it wrong, we have to succeed.”

“Michael called while you were gone, and the night of no moon is tomorrow.”

“Oh great,” said Morty, “nothing like a little pressure. I have to finish this gadget before then.”

The two guardian angels worked through the night.

“This looks like it might work,” said Gracie.

“Thank-you,  I got the inspiration while I watched you and Max fly.”

“Really?”

“Yep,” he replied without any more explanation.

Gracie decided not to pursue him with any more questions, but her curiosity was growing. When Morty is ready, he will tell me, she thought. They finished the invention just before dawn.

“Let’s test it,” said Morty, and off they went.

Gracie sat on the back of Skye Scooter right behind Morty. Her back was to his. She held the invention in her lap.

Morty sped up and then gave Gracie the signal.

“Now,” he shouted.

Gracie tossed the invention into the air behind the scooter. She watched a large parachute open. It had a bottle tied to the center of it. A hole in the chute opened into the bottle.

“It opened smoothly,” she hollered to Morty.

“Great.” He landed Skye just as the sun began to make the morning sky glow red.

“Let’s get some rest before Ben wakes up.”

To Be Continued . . .

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No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, including those yet to be invented or discovered, without permission in writing from the publisher and author.

Fire Fly Air Force-Chapter 14

“Morty, fly high,” said Michael Archangel.

“Is that all?”

“That’s all I can say. Just fly high.”

“Okay.”

Morty nosed Skye upward and leveled off just below some low clouds. Nancy hung onto Morty’s curl scared.

“This is higher than I’ve ever flown before,” she said. “Everything looks so small from here.”

“Look down,” said Morty. “Do you see the fire fly flashes everywhere?”

“How beautiful they look from above,” said Nancy, “Look over there.”

She pointed with her tiny front leg. Morty spotted what she saw. They were streaks of yellow light from fireflies flying in formations.

“That must be Luke,” said Nancy. “We found him. We found him.”

Actually, it was not Luke. It was Jaime, and his squadron. Ben ran into the yard. Morty and Nancy watched as he captured Jaime, and placed him into a jar. They also watched the beautiful formation break up as the squadron scattered to avoid capture. Just then, Morty spotted the very bright signal again.

Short, short, short; pause, long, long, long; pause short, short, short, then darkness. Ben’s friend grabbed at the light just after it went dark.

“That’s him,” shouted Morty.

“It’s Torch, the firefly whose signal I saw once before, he disappeared just as Ben’s friend went to grab him.”

“Hold on,” shouted Morty. He made himself and Skye invisible, and landed in the yard. He hopped onto Ben’s shoulder. Nancy clung to his curl. They peered into the bottle to look for Luke.

“He’s not in there,” said Nancy. “It’s not Luke.”

Next, Morty went to the boy who swiped at Torch. They looked in his bottle. Torch was not there either. Neither Morty nor Nancy saw the bright light.

“He must have escaped,” said Morty, “I missed him again.”

“Look up,” said Gracie, “there in the sky over the next yard.”

Morty spotted the light too. It was bright. It blinked the same way as before, short, short, short; pause, long, long, long; pause, short, short, short.

Morty pushed the turbo-blaster button. They streaked through the sky chasing Torch. Morty leveled off and slowed just as Torch began his dive toward the Phyros.

“Oh no!” said Nancy.

“What?”

“Look below,” she said, “Those are Phyros.”

“What are Phyros?” he asked. Torch dropped fast, and Nancy could see that the Phyros were ready for him. She lost her husband to the Phyros. Nancy knew, by the way they blink their lights. These fireflies were not as friendly as they looked.

“No time to explain, we have to rescue him, dive, dive, dive,” she screamed.

Morty nosed Skye downward and dropped fast, but Torch stayed ahead of him. Morty pushed the turbo button again. Everything became a blur. Morty leaned to his right, and held out his hand while he used the other to steer out of the dive. Skye pulled up just before hitting the grass. Morty caught Torch in the palm of his hand, and closed his fist around him just as Torch floated in front of the Phyros.

Skye soared upward with Nancy still clinging to Morty’s curl. Torch was safe in Morty’s hand. The Phyros below all flashed, and chased after Morty. They were very angry since they had lost a meal. The scooter leveled off and hovered above the Phyro yard. Nancy breathed more easily, now that they had flown out of the reach of the Phyros. Morty opened his hand to free Torch.

“Where am I? What happened?” asked the frightened Torch.

“Safe in Morty Angel’s hand,” said Nancy, “He just saved you from becoming a Phyro-burger.”

“I don’t believe it,” Torch exclaimed.

“Look down there,” she said. “See the Phyros swarming; Morty caught you just in time.”

“No, no, I don’t believe I found Morty Angel,” said Torch.

“It’s more like he found you,” she said.

“He did find me,” interrupted Morty, “if I had not seen his signal, and his bright light, I couldn’t have known who he was.”

“Thank-you for saving me Morty, I have a message for you.”

“I know. I found Stretch. He told me all about your work to find me to give me the message.”

“Can we go find Luke now?” asked an impatient Nancy.

“Of course,” said Morty. He moved Skye slowly through the air above the yards.

The three of them, Morty flying the scooter, Nancy and Torch resting on his curl, could see that the flurry of activity caused by the children had subsided. All the lightening bugs had shut off their lights to hide from the kids. I am sure Gracie helped with that, thought Morty to himself.

Ben and his friend had gone back into the house for the night. They were in Ben’s dark bedroom watching the fireflies in the bottle. A short time later, the friend’s father came to take him home.

Morty waited until the house went dark and everyone was asleep. He landed by the Arbor Vitae tree next to the house.

“It will be safe here,” he told Nancy and Torch, “Wait for me to come out. I’m going to set your friends free.”

The bedroom was quiet. Ben was asleep. Gracie lay on the pillow next to his head. The jar with the lightening bugs was on the dresser. The lid was on loose. A few of the beetles flashed dimly. Morty could hear them crying softly. Jaime clung to the underside of the lid looking for a way to get out. The bedroom window was open, and a cool breeze swept into the room. The curtains moved ever so gently.

Gracie was almost asleep when Morty entered. He put his hand gently on her shoulder not to startle her.

“Morty, what are you doing here? I thought you would be gone longer?”

“I’m here just for a moment,” he said. “I have some friends waiting for me outside. I came to free the fireflies.”

“Ben will be disappointed if they disappear,” whispered Gracie.

“I’ll make it look like they escaped,” said Morty.

“How will you do that?”

“Watch me.” Morty gently tipped the bottle on its side then turned the lid just a bit. The lid came off and fell next to the jar.

“Come out little beetles.” Jaimie, who was on the underside of the lid, was airborne and heading into the breeze that came from the window.

“Thanks,” he flashed to Morty. Morty blinked his halo in response.

“Go to the arbor vitae. Friends are waiting there.”

Morty lifted the screen further for the beetles to escape. One by one, the fireflies flew out to the arbor vitae. While they left, Morty told Gracie the whole story about Nancy, Torch, Stretch, and the Phyros.

“Gosh,” said Gracie. “You have been busy.”

“I have to go now. I have a special message to deliver, but I need your help to deliver it.”

Morty explained his plan to Gracie. He would be gone with the fireflies. She was to bring Ben to the patio behind the house on the night when there was no moon.

“Please have all of the house-lights out too,” he said. “It will make the delivery more special.” He blinked goodbye then disappeared into the night.

To Be Continued . . .

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No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, including those yet to be invented or discovered, without permission in writing from the publisher and author.

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