People You Just Want To Meet

Meeting Tara: I think of myself as a keen observer of people and a quick read as to who they are. It happens to me a lot: a person will come along and I will have an overwhelming ‘urge’ to meet them. A short con-fab with said person usually confirms my intuition. As in most things about my life, I always want to know more.

Most recently I was observing a young lady named Tara. She was a bar-back in a ‘funky’ joint in SW Portland. There was something about her that said: “I have the confidence of a person that is going somewhere, beyond my current vocation of slinging drinks”. I recognized that fact and decided to talk with her. Transitioning from ‘old guy customer’ to inviting a lady 40 years younger to sit with you after her shift is over, and have a drink, is a very delicate matter. I’ve learned not to rush it. Turns out that Tara is an artist, and working on a master’s degree in marine biology. Smart lady, yeah.

She invited me to her art show opening in the Pearl District, a hip newer area of Portland. I got there early and had time to talk with the gallery owner. He had nothing but praise for Tara’s work and the way she conducts herself. I spent most of an hour sitting in the room where her paintings were hung. By the time she showed up I had plenty of questions. Art is a subjective medium, and people tend to ‘like’ what they like. Tara paints sea life with a twist. There is always a surprise popping up in one corner or another. It wasn’t normal for me to sit around discussing someone’s art, but I did with Tara. The gallery never did fill up, so we spent most of the evening together.A pleasant experience for me that  culminated with her giving me a ride to my favourite bar before she took off to meet up with her boyfriend. As a bonus, I even liked the way she drove her truck. Most people’s driving bugs me, and I hang on like a nervous grandmother. Not that night, not with Tara. She is one ‘special lady’, and I tell her that often.

Meeting Lacey: Fate is just what it seems, unpredictable. After five months of not having the ‘urge’, it happened again and in the same bar where Tara worked. This time the lady in question was the chef. This last month I’ve only seen quick glimpses of her running in and out of the kitchen. Her long black hair always up in a bun, wearing sensible shoes and a black chef’s coat. She never really had time to say ‘Hi’ to me because…, well…, unlike a bartender, she doesn’t really interact with the customers. For the last few days things have been different. She will still buzz by at high-speed, but she started giving me a quick glance, followed by a ‘Hi Don’. I noticed, and before long I knew I wanted to talk to her. Another week goes by, and I’m sitting at the end of the bar as Lacey is finishing up her shift. Purse and cars keys in her hand, I’m expecting a quick exit. I motion for her to join me and have an after-work drink. She nods and plops down on the stool next to me. I’m looking at her closely for the first time, and we’re having a great conversation. One drink became two and my request to her is to undo her bun and let her hair down. She did, and I saw her in a totally different light. I was mesmerized. Lacey has a subtle Wow! factor that I knew all along she had. A third drink and she has to leave for dinner with friends. I’m hoping there will be another time to chat, and I look forward to that day.

Hilary: Because I am a bartender, people are always asking me how can I remember all those drink recipes. The answer is simple. Pouring drinks is a skill that takes dexterity, quick thinking and a sharp, organized mind to keep everything straight. It has nothing to do with the ability to remember what goes in a ‘Ramos Fizz’. You also have to know people; how to talk to them, serve them and sometimes keep them in line. That is the real skill needed to be a bartender and not just anybody can learn how to do it. It’s something a person has to already have within them.

Hilary is a bartender that defines the word. She has all the best traits I could possibly think of that a ‘great’ bartender should have and …, she has a little bit more. She is quite simply ‘The Best’. She could be working in any fine dining establishment from San Francisco to New York. Instead, she works in a blue-collar bar, where hard-working, regular folks come to watch the  game and wind down from their jobs. She treats everybody with respect and makes a person feel like they are special. I’ve recommended this particular bar to friends, and invariably they will mention they were there once and ask: “Who is that small, red-haired/wispy blond bartender that works there? She is really good!”. Of course, they had met Hilary. She is the reason I go there on certain days only. Once you get waited on by Hilary, you will be spoiled, and any other bartender in town will just be somebody that brings you a drink. I guarantee it!



Katherine: In the world of beautiful bartenders, this one is in a class unto herself. She has so many different looks, I’m not sure I’m seeing the same women every time I venture into her bar. Hair up, hair down; hat, no hat; demure one day and unbelievably sexy the next; what is a grown man supposed to do other than  fall for her.

Katherine works in a small area of Portland, Oregon, known as Multnomah Village. Everybody knows everybody, which has its good and bad points. On the plus side, when this young lady is working, all the able-bodied men in the area drop by to get a beer. Word on the street is, most guys don’t come in unless she is working ( I’m thinking this is a good thing ). Myself, I try to be fair with anyone I bump into. However, if you experience Katherine once, you will be hooked. She has that ‘certain energy’ that can’t be stopped, and she lets it shine. I simply don’t know how she does it, but I’m glad she does. Thank you, Katherine, for always being you.



Closing Time

OK Kids!…, if you’re not



employed here or having my baby, get the hell out!    by Jessica ( aka Jennifer with only one f )

( post script ) Good looking, hard-working, talented young ladies with a plan for their lives are very attractive in my world. For whatever reason, I am a very blessed person and a lucky man to get the chance to spend time with them. Thank you Ladies, thank you very much.

“If you spend your life looking over your shoulder and regretting your past….you’ll miss the good things right in front of you.”–Me


3 thoughts on “People You Just Want To Meet

  1. I’ve read a few of your stories so far, Mr. Don, and I like them. The portraits of people you’ve met are my favorites so far. Just wondering, are you also working on the great American novel as well as your lively and colorful vignettes? If you are, you just might be on to something…
    Break a leg ~
    Caryl Lyn (my real name; I just camouflaged it earlier)

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