A little piece of history fell Monday afternoon, marking a symbolic finale to an end that had taken place over a decade earlier.
As a handful of bystanders looked on, daring the frigid January air, the walls of a building that once served as a popular bar and café were torn down. Although its doors had long been closed, watching as the excavator’s destructive teeth bit into the building, served as an authentic reminder of just how temporary the things of this world really are.
The building had housed holiday parties, wedding receptions, Sunday afternoon luncheons and an untold number of memories – both good and bad. The dance floor in back, no doubt, witnessed the budding blush of passionate romances, both clandestine and overt.
One can only imagine what stories the walls of the front bar and diner could tell if allowed to share.
Plate-loads of dishes were prepared and served. Tall, cold glasses of chocolate milkshakes were enjoyed by young and old as patrons swiveled on the cushioned barstools sitting below the counter’s edge.
With little effort, the mind’s eye can recall walls adorned with varied Jim Beam whiskey bottles fashioned in almost every imaginable shape, from classic cars and wild animals to strange looking men and women. Framed copies of C.M. Russell pictures lined the walls just above the booths, depicting such images as a starving cow suffering a long, cold winter.
Memories were made and stories told. Arguments waged and tall tales spun. Characters that only a fiction writer could dream up filled the rooms that now no longer exist.
And somewhere in the imagined distance, like the wafting aroma of a diner-prepared meal, the shadows of people and settings long since gone, presently serve as a gentle reminder of the brevity of life and all that it encompasses.
Published Jan. 20, 2009