Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's been a long time since I've thought of someone as "my bartender." I don't frequent taverns much nowadays, but for the last few months, on my break night before flying home, I've stayed at a hotel in New Orleans with a bar and restaurant I like.

The first night I met K as my bartender, I was talking to a British waterworks engineer who'd recently lost his wife. K mentioned that she'd lost her husband a few years ago to cancer. He was only in his forties.

The last time I saw K on the night before flying back home, the restaurant was busy, but the bar deserted. Being the nosy guy I am, I asked how she met her husband. She told me that they met during Mardi Gras, and started dating. She then told me how they came to be married.
"Marry me," she said to him.
"I don't want to get married," he said.
"Then I'm going back to California," she said.
"Okay then, I'll marry you," he said.
They were married for twenty-five years before cancer took him away. She followed the ambulance with her oldest son and daughter in the car. Her youngest son rode with his dad in the ambulance.
The dad looked at his son. "I'm not going home again. You know that, don't you?"
The youngest son couldn't accept such a proclamation. "Sure you will, Dad."
The dad looked at his youngest again. "Your mom is the love of my life."
And indeed, the dad never went home again, although his message did make it back to the woman who would soon carry on as a single parent, making a living in a bar, pouring beer for nosy guys like me.


quid said...

Beautiful story.


Bob said...



Algernon said...

That story is something, isn't it.

Interesting how people bond with bartenders.

Carla Jackson said...

Hal, once again you've left me with a lump in my throat. Touching story, beautifully told.

Mary Paddock said...

Lovely story, Hal. Thanks for sharing it.

Makes me want to go hug my husband.