Because I needed another place to keep these thoughts. And because, well, it's been ages. Hasn't it?
I keep telling myself it was just a place. And I know some people are seeing these posts and thinking "what's the big deal?" or "it was just a bar". Well they're wrong. They don't know what they're talking about. It was more than just a place. 64 North Orange Avenue was a hideout. A treehouse for grownups right on the streets of Orlando. But instead of "no girls allowed", it was 21 and up. There wasn't a secret handshake, rather a yellow legal pad of paper by the cash register with members' names and tabs. When you had friends in town (or your mom) you popped in to show the place off. And your guests either got-it or moved on further toward Church street for drinks. But that was okay. You slid into a booth. Close (but not too close) to the RV and found or made your mark on it's cruddy side. You met your best friend there after wandering in during your first summer of college. He was sitting at the bar. He was behind the bar. He was dating the bartender. You met your wife there. Or husband. After taking many (MANY) strips of photos in which you were kissing frogs....you found a prince. (He was drinking High Life and poring over juke-box selections.) When you lost your job, Henry bought you a drink. And then Preston did. And then I did. When you broke up, She got Eye-Spy and you staked claim on BBQ (lucky dog). The girls behind you on a Saturday night are mad because you didn't get carded and they are searching blindly in their purses for an ID. But it's your place. You can do that. You can sit on a stool, rest your gut up against the bar, turn a lock that doesn't secure a damn thing and look up at a face who knows what you like in your can. And they probably know your last name and who will show up in five minutes to sit next to you. And I can't lie to myself and say that all that is no big deal. It meant so much to me. I was a patron there a few years and then I told Hurst he should give me a job so I could support my habit. He said, "Okay, come in tomorrow at 7." And I'm so grateful I had the balls to show up (hungover). This post is getting on. And faces and names are popping into memory that are making me happy and sad. Last night Ashley and Hurst hoisted up the rope ladder to the coolest fort I've ever known. I'm so thankful to have been a part of it.