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Bockfest Bender


Bockfest.  Arnold’s at 4:00 p.m. on Friday to make sure that I get a seat at the bar except there are no seats, the stools have been removed to maximize space and give people better access to the bar. The kegs are tapped: Schoenling Bock, Hudepohl Bock, Spaten Optimator, Moerlein Emancipator, Maibock. A pitcher is the best deal. Amanda gives me a taste of the Schoenling and Hudepohl. Schoenling it is.

A pitcher is a lot of beer for a guy who weighs in at 154 so I share with Judge Mark Painter. His lovely wife, Sue, joins us so it’s not very hard to knock off the pitcher. That should be that, but Mark buys another pitcher. Judge Painter is serving on a United Nations Tribunal with offices in New York, Geneva and Nairobi. Sue has just finished a book on a local artist whose name I don’t recall. They are off to Geneva tomorrow, I think. Sue prods Mark to go to dinner. They have no plans. I suggest Nicola’s. They leave me with a half-pitcher of beer.  It is 80 degrees in Nairobi.

The bar is very crowded. Laura and Jack are having trouble keeping up. Lydia to my right has an empty glass so I fill it. Twice. There is a parade outside. A giant wooden goat on wheels is being pulled down the street. Men dressed in Monk’s robes. I think Monks meditate and drink Bock beer. If you drink enough Bock beer the meditation takes care of itself.

Joined by MaryBeth, Cheryl and Missy. Missy has discount Ballet coupons and stickers that aren’t sticky unless you apply them to the inside of a car window. We learn this because Lydia tries to apply one to her breasts (over a sweater). Shortly after MaryBeth and Cheryl leave, a third pitcher appears as if conjured by Monk’s. Did I mention that it’s 80 degrees in Nairobi?

Home on foot. Lamp-post to lamp-post. I awaken in bed with my fedora. How does a man get undressed for bed and fail to take off his hat? At least there are no strange women, farm animals or cheese whiz.

I think of bailing on my standing Saturday appointment for the Market Wines tasting but a commitment is a commitment. Discussing the Fucker Supper Club (a tale for another time) with Megan and Eric and MaryBeth and Cheryl over Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, something else red and something else again red. Megan points out that if the Fucker Supper Club features chicken it would be the Clucker Fucker Supper Club. I take the Leerdammer cheese that I purchased at Krause’s from my bag and we have it with Blue Oven bread. Groups of people outside are racing with shopping carts. Jim Tarbell told me that Bockfest Hall was cranking last night so our group decides to meet up there later in the afternoon.

Joe, Christian, Megan, Eric, Cheryl and MaryBeth. Chico and a version of the Dancing Pig Band sans Keith Baker, last spotted in a Monk’s robe, wander through the tables with fiddle, saxophone, clarinet, trombone and a washboard vest. They look like a band of Gypsies.  I spend a few minutes visiting with Marge and Smith Hammelrath.

Sunday. My hair hurts. I return a copy of Fitzcarraldo to the public library as soon as the doors open. I’m checking out a Leonard Cohen c.d. when MaryBeth texts. She is back at Bockfest hall with Ian and Amy. W.T.F.

 An over-amplified band of old German guys in Lederhosen play while women twirl. Big red skirts flare, showing an occasional fetching thigh. The Arnold’s crew (Bret, Ronda, Pam et al), at the other end of our table with Tim the Monk (Friar, I am corrected). Mike Cromer visits and we reminisce about the Barrel House days. I’ve been told that Cincinnati is the only city of its size that does not have a homegrown Brew Pub. As much as I like Rock Bottom (it’s a chain and doesn’t count), that is just wrong. Bockfest Hall is set up in the old Hussman potato chip factory.  We need a year round Beer Hall in Cincinnati. I’m craving barbecue pork rinds.

Moore St. is lined with police cars but the cops are just milling about and talking. There are only about a dozen people, not counting the workers, lingering at Bockfest Hall. They are trying to blow out the rest of the Bock so it’s only a buck a glass. An old guy who looks like a street person with a “died and gone to heaven” expression on his face topples from his folding chair onto the floor. He is unharmed. Alarmingly, I do not feel the least bit drunk. Leonard Cohen’s Closing Time is rattling around in my noggin.

                              Yeah I missed you when the place got wrecked

                              By the winds of change and the weeds of sex

                              Looks like freedom but it feels like death

                              It’s something in between, I guess.

                              It’s CLOSING TIME

 Mick

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