My favorite bartender



There is an obituary in the paper today that brings back fond memories.  It is for my favorite bartender, Fred.

Just saying that makes me sound like a real lush, doesn’t it.  But, in fact, I’m not much of a drinker at all.  Let me explain how I ended up with a favorite bartender.

For the 15 or so years that Hubby and I were involved in local politics, we went to many political dinners, grand openings, fund-raising cocktail parties, etc.  And one local caterer catered many of those events, including supplying the bartenders.

Early on, I found that one of the biggest “pains” of cocktail hour is walking around chatting with people while trying to balance a drink along with a plate of finger food.  Think about it.  If you have a drink in one hand and a plate of  “finger food” in the other hand, where do you get the fingers to eat the finger food!  And if you are carrying even a small evening bag it is just one more thing to juggle.

So, one time when I was standing at the bar ordering my version of a Shirley Temple, i.e., a glass of orange juice, as the bartender handed me my drink I was jockeying everything around and asked him if there was a cloak room where I could check my purse.  He said there wasn’t, but if I would like, he would put my purse down behind the bar.  Wonderful!  I immediately took him up on that.  What a nice man.  We introduced ourselves and besides finding out that his name was Fred, I found out he and his family were from the same area of the county as us and he knew and/or was related to many of the same people we knew or were related to!

Anyway, that was the start of a sort of “tradition” that Fred and I established.  If I walked up to a bar at a function and Fred was one of the bartenders (and he frequently was) after we greeted each other, he would automatically fix my Shirley Temple “screwdriver” and then take my purse to store behind the bar until I came to get it when Hubby and I were ready to leave.

I can’t remember ever having a long conversation with Fred, but it was  nice to see his friendly face at a function (and I did find out over the years that he was still an active farmer and had also retired from the same truck manufacturer where I worked).  And, of course, it was always kind of nice to be recognized by a bartender.  It made me feel a little like Norm when he walked into Cheers!

So when I saw Fred’s obituary today, and his smiling face in the accompanying picture, it brought back fond memories of seeing that smile as he handed me my orange juice and took my purse for safekeeping.

One of life’s little blessings is the people who pass through our lives in brief ways, but who touch us with their kindness and a smile.

I am thankful for my memories of Fred and for all the other “Fred’s” in my life who just make life a little more pleasant.  And I hope I am a “Fred” in some lives that  I have briefly passed through.

When I go to a wake, I always like to tell the survivors some little memory I have of their loved one, and then remind them that as long as little memories like that live on in people who knew them, a little bit of that person is still here. 

I’m sure a kind, friendly man like Fred was loved and remembered by many people, and as long as there are all those memories like mine, he isn’t totally gone.

Rest in peace, Fred.

19 Responses to My favorite bartender

  1. Hilary says:

    I love the way you not only remember the people that pass through your life in small but significant ways, but also make sure others now hold a small piece of them in their hearts too. I tip a glass of orange juice to you, and to Fred. May he rest in peace.

  2. Chrissy Witt says:

    I looooove your Fred! May he find great peace and rest! A wonderful man and a beautiful legacy! I just keep thinking, if he was such a good bartender at political events, could you imagine what it was like to be his family member? Rock-on Fred! Sandy your memory of people is amazing, but your ability to share it with others, is outstanding! Thanks! Fred RIP, your legacy is amazing and one that even those of us who have not met you, will remember! This is one of those that touch my heart! The beauty of people!

  3. Sandra says:

    Thank you, Hilary. And I tip my glass of orange juice to you too, friend.

    Chrissy — Thank you for always looking for the best in what I write (and me!)and being such an encourager. 🙂

  4. carlahoag says:

    Such a lovely tribute. I’m glad you share stories with the families at the wakes. My dad was such a unique man and there are tons of stories about him that I don’t know. It’s always special to me when I hear a new one. So I’m sure the people you know appreciate it to. A thoughtful gift for a grieving family.

  5. Amy O says:

    Wonderful story and I love that you share a story at the wake with the family. I’m going to try that. May Fred Rest in Peace!

  6. Sandra says:

    Carla — That’s exactly the reason I do it! I LOVE it when someone shares a story with me about one of my parents, even now after they’ve been gone many years.

    Amy — I definitely recommend doing this. Before I hit on this idea, I had trouble deciding what to say at the funeral home.

  7. Tanna says:

    Hi, there. Found you through a kind comment you left on my blog. I have gone back and read your posts on golf! They are WONDERFUL! And, oh, my gosh! The photos from your course with the barn were breathtaking. I also love the story about your parents giving you the gift of a morning to yourself to play. Golf is a wonderful activity… though “activity” doesn’t sound near enough to encompass all it is. 😉

    Yep, I do love my grandbaby, too. And, sadly the hooded eyelids are another common ground. So nice to *meet* you! ~ Tanna

  8. Sandra says:

    Thanks for visiting, Tanna! Nice to “meet” you too! 🙂

  9. Barb says:

    Thx, ‘Fred’

  10. Suldog says:

    A good bartender is a good listener, a good therapist, a good companion, a good friend. My condolences concerning your good bartender.

  11. Barb says:

    …to explain the ‘thx, ‘Fred’….you ARE a Fred, i.e. good listener,and I second Hillary’s post.

  12. Johanna says:

    I loved this post. Very touching. I love how you decribe people. I really hope I am someones “Fred” too. My condolences.

  13. It’s amazing how attached we can get to these people that pass through our lives. I was recently floored when I read my favourite smiling face at the auction house had passed away. I was as sad as if I had lost my weekly lunching friend. This is a wonderful tribute to Fred and now he’ll be remembered by even more.

  14. gaelikaa says:

    Different people come into our lives and play major and minor roles. They’re all precious in their own way. Fred was such a good person…

  15. Sandra says:

    Barb — Thanks so much my friend.

    Johanna — Thank you. Most of us aspire to be a “Fred” to someone, don’t we!

    IBHH — You’ve hit it exactly. When you try to explain your relationship to someone like this, it’s hard isn’t it? Not very easy to compartmentalize them. I’m sorry for your loss too.

    Gaelikaa — So true, and we need to just savor each little pleasant contact in its own right.

  16. Daryl says:

    Congrats on POTW mention from Hilary

  17. Sandra says:

    Thank you, Daryl. And thank you for stopping by.

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