Jocular July

*1

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

Farewell Mayor Bud

*2

You might wonder how the passing of an icon is consistent with the title of this blog post, but remembering Bud Clark brings smiles – if not laughs – to the people who knew this jovial bar owner. 

In 1984, he made national headlines running against the City of Portland political establishment and capturing an upset win in the Mayor’s Race. He passed away in February. (External photo attribution at the end of this post.)

Zap the Clap???

His “Expose Yourself to Art” poster which now hangs in the Smithsonian was originally going to be part of a campaign against venereal disease called “Zap the Clap.”  Whether it was seeing him ride to work at City Hall on his bicycle, his legendary exclamation “Whoop Whoop! “or just running into him at the Goose Hollow Inn that he opened in 1967 his charisma prevailed.  And Bud was a very effective elected official during his two terms.

One of the best memories of my now eleven years of Beerchasing was visiting the Goose Hollow in 2012 with friend Jim Westwood (former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter) and the late Oregonian history columnist, John Terry

I had called the Goose and asked if Bud still came to the bar and he agreed to meet us.  He gave me an interview and spent 90 minutes with us, bought our beer and gave us each an historical tract about the Goose Hollow Neighborhood.  The bar is now  managed by his daughter Rachel.   

Bud’s charisma, efforts to help the downtrodden and civic and entrepreneurial spirit will long be remembered.

Back to the “Fusion”

One of my pet peeve is blogs or columns where the author goes into excruciating detail about his or her personal health and well-being. Well, without trying to be hypocritical and realizing I may lose some followers, I offer the following chronicle – rationalizing that the narrative has some beer-related content and also explains why the last Beerchaser post was almost one month ago.

The story began last November where I ended up in the Emergency Room of our local hospital with severe back pain – enough so that I received some narcotics to mitigate the pain while they did an MRI.

My only prior back problems were a short-term “pulled vertebrae” issue during high school basketball and with Navy ROTC drills in college.  The ER doc referred me to a spine surgeon.

*3

After getting two opinions, both docs opined that they would avoid just a discectomy or decompression, but undergo a fusion – the more radical procedure where your body becomes host to screws and other fasteners that one normally procures at Ace Hardware.

That way, I wouldn’t be coming back again in three or four years for another trip to the OR. Some advised me to avoid a fusion, but I wanted to play golf, hike and hold my grandchildren again, so I had the operation on June 13th in a four-hour procedure. (By the way, the pictures below are not of me…..)

Well, three weeks out, I’m a relatively pain-free and a happy camper – now off narcotics so I can drink beer again….. So how does this story relate to beer:

My surgeon is a brilliant and personable young guy with impeccable credentials and outstanding communication skills. After a couple appointments and the decision, Janet and I met with him for the pre-op consultation two week prior to surgery, and part of our conversation went like this:

Doc:   Don, how’s your pain level?

Beerchaser:   Pretty good except when I sit for a period.  For example, I had to drive to Mount Angel (almost an hour drive) last week and I had to stop three times to get out and walk because of the pain.

Doc:   Why did you have to go to Mount Angel?

Beerchaser: I had a meeting of the Abbey Foundation Board.

Doc:  Have you been to the brewery down there?   My wife and I both love their beer.

Beerchaser:   I could go on for an hour why I love the Benedictine Brewery and how I became involved.

*6 One of only four owned and operated by monks in the US

Fast forward to the day after the surgery when he was doing his hospital rounds and after talking with me for ten minutes, he concluded:

“Don, the fact that you had such rapid mitigation of pain is very positive.  In six weeks we’ll be virtually high-fiving and toasting with Monk beer…”

This part of the story ends with my first post-op appointment – two weeks after the surgery and with his Physician’s Assistant. Knowing the surgeon likes Benedictine Beer, I put two bottles in a small bag with tissue paper and included a page long treatise about the Brewery story including two links to posts on Thebeerchaser where I told the story.

*7

I gave the bag to the receptionist and about fifteen minutes into the appointment with the PA, there was a knock on the exam room door and he walked in with a big smile on his face:

Doc:   As soon as I saw the contents in the bag, I knew where this came from. Thanks.

Beerchaser:  As soon as I found out that you liked Benedictine Beer, I knew I picked the right surgeon! 

(And for those who doubt the benefits of visiting the Benedictine Brewery and Taproom, check out this 2022 article “A Drink From This Benedictine Brewery Will Have You Thanking God for Beer!”) in the international publication Religion Unplugged.)

A few additional thoughts

If you find out that your surgeon favors Coors Light, you might want to get another opinion.

The Physical Therapist who initially met with me in the hospital said that they have two maxims:

  1. “Motion is the lotion…….”  (i.e. “Get your butt out of bed or your chair every twenty minutes.”)
  2. “Remember this rule for the next six weeks: ‘No BLT.”

At first I was shocked because I thought the “B” was for “Beer,” but was relieved to find out that the acronym stood for “Bending, Lifting and Twisting” – something I could live with although challenging to practice. 

I rationalized that shaving required me to bend so I used this opportunity to grow a beard for the first time since we dated in 1979.   Given the results after 2.5 weeks and at Janet’s urging, I figured out how to shave without bending on July 4th.

One final reflection. I have never been worried about my balance, but falling after back surgery can be disastrous, so we were fortunate to get a walker on loan from our church.

I told Janet that it’s a reflection on how things have changed in our lives when getting a walker is viewed as a really positive development….

*8 Not the Texas Ranger..

I’m pleased to report that I have now graduated to a cane to walk up and down stairs.  And I’ll use the cane for the next few weeks outside, because where we live most of the sidewalks have ups and downs.

I’ve tried to view this positively imagining the neighbors envision the F. Scott Fitzgarald figure, – a much older, Jay Gatsby, and his iconic walking stick ambling through our neighborhood.  (9-11)

Being confined to my house for the last 2.5 weeks has enhanced my reading and also internet diving.   And along the theme of “Jocular July” I offer these two which made me laugh.

Rain Forest in North America?

Eddie Burback is an actor and producer.  He and his buddy took a three-week 2022 road trip to eat at every remaining Rain Forest Cafe in the US and Canada – eighteen in all.   

At first I thought, “This guy is nuts,” but then realized that it would be hypocritical for me – a guy who has made a hobby of visiting bars and breweries throughout the US for the last eleven years to question this goal.  

I had eaten at two RFCs – one in Phoenix and one in downtown Chicago (permanently closed as of April this year) on business trips trying to skimp on my expense reimbursement. 

After checking out the start of his 2022 You Tube, I have to admit that I listened to the entire  thirty-six minute bit and it was entertaining.

Zoom Your Room….

We have watched an incredible number of ZOOM interviews on Cable News – primarily on political topics and Janet and I often commented about how stylish the living quarters of the interviewees usually are. 

Having participated in a number of ZOOM sessions ourselves, we also have wondered how our background looks.

*14 These people need help…..

I then discovered a book published last month: How to Zoom Your Room: Room Rater’s Ultimate Style Guide.    

“Packed with beautiful how-to illustrations that demonstrate visually stunning set-ups and tips from celebrity zoom rooms, Room Rater packs an amusing punch while offering advice on how to up your game and not be embarrassed by your surroundings.”

In Conclusion

So at least temporarily, block out the dispiriting and find some crazy or innovative items that will make you laugh or even lead you on an adventure.

This claim is perfectly stated in this excerpt from what became my favorite song during the pandemic by John Michael Montgomery – Life’s a Dance” – great melody and lyrics.

When I was fourteen I was fallin’ fast
For a blue eyed girl in my homeroom class
Tryin’ to find the courage to ask her out
Was like tryin’ to get oil from a waterspout
 
What she would have said I can’t say
I never did ask and she moved away
But I learned somethin’ from my blue eyed girl
Sink or swim you gotta give it a whirl
 
Life’s a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
Life’s a dance you learn as you go
 
Cheers!

External Photo Attribution

*1  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sharing_a_laugh_(15484499520).jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author:  Oregon Department of Transportation – 16 October 2014.

*2  Wikimedia Commons  Bud Clark (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bud_Clark_1988.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Steve Morgan  18 March 1988.

*3  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons   (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ER_logo.svg)   This logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain.

*4  Public Domain – Wikimeidan Commons  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1851539)  Mjorter at Dutch Wikipedia – Transferred from nl.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain. 

*5  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roe_LWS_Spondylodese_L5-S1_seitlich.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:PumpingRudi  16 November 2009.

*6 -7  Benedictine Brewery Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/BenedictineBrewery)

*8  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Walker._frame.jpg)  This work has been released into the public domain by its author, High Plains Drifter. This applies worldwide.  27 January 2006.

*9 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Une_canne_de_marchand_.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Fonquebure   21 March 2009.

*10  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:F._Scott_Fitzgerald_(1929_photo_.jpgThis work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1927 and 1963, and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed. 

*11 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Gatsby#/media/File:Saturday_Evening cover.jpg)  In the public domain in the United States because it  was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1927.  Author:  Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle.

*12 Eddie Burback (https://youtube.fandom.com/wiki/Eddy_Burback)

*13  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rainforest-cafe-auburn-hills-michigan.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author: Joetregembo  11 March 2016. 

*14  Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zoom_participants_Bubrikh_2020.png) Released worldwide into the public domain by its author http://AKA MBG.