… is ours. At least this southern corner of it.
From the Strange But True, file #128, comes the following:
Recently, I stopped off at a bar on Meramec, just west of Grand. There are two taverns there, nearly next door to one another, but this one has T.O. as initials; we’ll leave it at that. While there, during the dying embers of afternoon, a woman passed out in the restroom. There was some concern about her. Eventually, I helped bring her out of the bathroom and into the relative safety of the main barroom. She was out, totally unconscious. Eventually, 911 was called and as EMTs arrived, she came to, only to say that she couldn’t speak or hear and needed sign language. As an evasion of the inevitable, forced trip to the hospital, it was a pretty interesting play. Obviously, the whole situation took more than a couple minutes; guessing that from the time we walked into the loo, to the time we iced her burning body down, to the time that she was wheeled out, about 30-minutes passed. My guess is that this story will be passed around that T.O. bar for the next couple years, with varying degrees of accuracy.
A few days later, a friend and I were running work-related errands. As the early-afternoon turned into the late-afternoon, we realized that contractors had already declared it Official Drinking Time and we decided to join America’s workingmen bar-side. My associate mentioned befriending a woman on Facebook recently, who was known to work at Verlin’s, a sort of Soulard-in-midtown drinking establishment, found on the edge of the Grove. We went in and, sure enough, the place has turned over from its old guise as a nice lunch spot (The Billy Goat) into a full-on party zone. Based on the photos he pulled up from FB, this new friend was absolutely the same person I’d “met” at T.O., a week ago. Our target, though, had moved on, according to a fellow who haunts the place on a daily basis; now she’s working at another bar on the South Side. Capping off our visit, a young man claiming to be a truck-driver rolled in and wrongly assumed it was strip bar; since he wasn’t from town, so sayeth his story, we gave him impeccable directions to both Sauget and Brooklyn, told off the top-of-head and without map usage. (Upon leaving, we noticed him leaving in a family wagon, not exactly a truck by our standards.) Oh: did we mention that the woman we kinda/sorta went to visit was apparently a Hustler and Penthouse model in the ’90s? No? Then that’s a detail to add, too.
Today, in blog form, the RFT ran a story on Peter Kinder and his apparent enjoyment of Verlin’s. He’s pictured with a former bartender there.
If you want to connect the dots here, you can. The whole affair is so odd that I simply have to post and then put in the rear-view mirror.
The South Side is weird. It’s really, truly weird.