Page 43 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CranePat’s TavernAmong the 3 stores along 65th Street was Pat’s Tavern. Pat’s was the local hangout for most of the adults in the neighborhood with a few youngsters trailing behind. I was one of those youngsters. I was once in a while allowed in the door. Like any other tavern it was always filled and yes, there was a favorite bartender. That person was George.George was a rather husky guy with curly red hair. He had returned from the Army when the 2nd World War ended. His prize possession was a .45 caliber Colt pistol that he kept in his waistband under his apron. As I was walking down the street one day, I glanced up to find bullet holes in the plate glass window and the neon sign hanging from a wire. When I went in to inquire as to what happened, I was told that a couple of guys held up the place and as they ran out, George followed after them and engaged in a shootout. He filled the get-a-way car with holes and they fired back. After that, George’s standing in the community only increased.My best friend Tom had a brother by the name of Mickey. Mickey had just returned from the Navy and was a regular customer. For whatever reason, Mickey and George got into a fight and Mickey beat George pretty bad. One day Mickey was sitting at the bar and George burst in saying, “Mickey, You’re Dead.” With that he started firing and shot Mickey twice. Later on when we went into the tavern, we saw large gaping holes in the wood bar and the spot where Mickey hit the floor. Mickey was rushed to the hospital and believe it or not, he survived. One of our classmates worked at the hospital as a cleanup person and he told us that he had to scrub Mickey’s blood from the operating room floor. It was quite a task for someone who knew and liked Mickey as we all did and even the patrons at Pat’s Tavern. Actually the patrons were torn over what had happened between the two friends.Later on I went into Pat’s and there on the counter sat a large glass pickle jar with a metal screw top lid. The lid had a slot cut into it where people could drop in money. It also had a sign that read, “George’s Defense Fund.” George continued on as a bartender and as for Mickey I don’t recall ever seeing him again in Pat’s Tavern, although I was still best friends with Mickey’s brother Tom. The fact is Mickey outlived Tom who I saw buried a number of years ago. It all reminded me of the Civil War when brother fought brother and I began to wonder, towards what end.43

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