Just a “Beer” at Twilight –
Just a “beer” at Twilight, when the lights are low,
And the flick’ring shadows softly come and go,
Tho’ the heart be weary, sad the day and long,
Still to us at Twilight comes Love’s old song,
comes Love’s old sweet song.
** “Just a Song at Twilight” was originally sung by John mccormack in 1927 and most recently recorded by Celtic Thunder. Also performed through the years by Garrison Kieillor, Nelson Eddy, The Chordettes, The Four Lads, Artie Shaw, Jo Stafford and others.
I loved the Twilight Room in North Portland, a haunt of University of Portland students and alums for many years. When I entered, a wave of nostalgia swept over me, with memories of Price’s Tavern and Don’s Den in Corvallis frequented while thebeerchaser attended OSU. Entering was like stepping back in time and the above song and lyrics came to mind as fitting — substituting my favorite brew for the word “song” in the title and first line.
“I first stepped through the door of the T-Room on my 21st birthday. Mom and Dad had driven up on a Saturday….and we sat in one of the wooden booths. The moment we sat down, a wizened woman with a vodka grin sat down next to my father and put her arms around him and said in a sultry Lauren Bacall voice, ‘ Hey, big fella, where you been all my whole life?’
My mom took a drag on her cigarette and gave her a look that said, “oh for heaven’s sake,’ my dad grinned and I decided then and there that the T-Rooom was the greatest place on earth.”
Both inside and outside were multiple signs proclaiming the 50th anniversary of the Twilight, but Father Hannon’s essay stated that UP kids had been congregating there “for sixty years.” Fortunately, Joan, one of the owners, who was sitting at the end of the bar clarified. They’ve owned the T-Room for fifty years and before they bought the bar, it was a tavern named the Green Arrow.
Distinguishing Features — As stated in previous posts, one of thebeerchaser’s goals is to identify unique or unusual features at each bar:
- Christmas Lights – From Fr. Hannon’s essay, “A string of Christmas lights snakes along the top of the walls of the T-Room. Each light has a small card taped beneath it with someone’s name. There must be a couple hundred of them. Some are still lit. Some have gone out. The person whose name is beneath the last one to flicker out will win a whole lot of money is my guess.
He continues, “I have no idea how long that string of lights has been there. But when there are only two lights left, I want to be there with a hundred of my closest friends, singing, laughing, shooting pool, waiting for one light to finally go out. That will be a night to remember.”
(Dave the bar-tender opined that each person who “bought” a light contributed $10 and the eventual winner is supposed to donate a large portion of the proceeds to a charity.)
Signatures on the Ceiling – Fr. Hannon, “My name is there on the ceiling. It’ll be there as long as the ceiling lasts. I wrote it there on a Thursday evening in late April of 1982.
It was Senior Signing Night and I was there with Lori and Janie and Helen and Mike and Steve and a hundred other seniors. Each of us climbed a rickety ladder and wrote our names on the ceiling.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of names there, each one telling a story of friends and classmates, wishes and wounds, of beer and Bluff, of kisses and tears. Nomines in pulvere. Names etched in white chalk, ephemeral dust that sticks around forever…..”
The friend who visited the T-Room with me is a savvy Portland business-woman, civic leader and a UP graduate a number of years ago.
She had her own memory. She smiled and pointed to the entrance and said, “I still remember coming in that door with my fake ID on Thursday nights.” (the statute of limitations has tolled…)
Dave the Bartender
After mingling with the patrons, chatting with Dave the bartender, observing the multiple pool tables, the nice patio, the layout and sampling the free popcorn, I concluded that the Twilight Room is a classic neighborhood pub and not a dive bar. They also have 22 beers on tap and “fully loaded” Bloody Marys although I didn’t have the courage to ask for the definition of that term.
Father Pat Hannon teaches theology at UP and I’m glad his essay motivated me to visit the Twilight Room. I have a feeling that he might concur with the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin in a recent column by George Will:
“‘Beer,’ said Ben Franklin, who knew a thing or two about pleasure, ‘Is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”‘
And thebeerchaser will conclude this post by saying a resounding, “AMEN!”