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Friday, January 02, 2015

You and I travel

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Third and Washington.

Don't quote me on this, but I think the establishment right on the corner was where Gabatoni's was before Gabatoni's was where Gabatoni's is now. That was a terrible sentence, but you know what I mean. Anyway, that would be going back to the 1960s and I was quite young, so the memories are vague and fading fast.

Then in the mid to late 70s it was a little Greek joint where you could get gyros, Greek salads, and maybe steaks and a few other things, not to mention it was also a full service tavern. That part I remember like it was just yesterday...

It was a warm summer evening in about 1978 or 79 and I was living in a great apartment at the top of a hill on North Walnut and I had a really good friend -- I'll call him Mike for purposes of this story. Mike was highly, highly intelligent. I think he graduated from high school at age 13. He had a PhD. He might have had two PhDs, if that's even possible. He worked in mental health for the state, back when the state cared about mental health. Like a lot of intelligent people, Mike was also a little quirky.

Mike was one of the best conversationalists I've ever known. But, mostly, I liked him because he tolerated me and my little stories without question, for the most part.

So, this one night, Mike was picking me up after work and we were going out to eat at the little Greek tavern. When Mike came to my door, he was out of breath and sweaty. What happened? "My car ran out of gas and I ran uphill the rest of the way here."

We jumped in my car and drove down to where his car was. He had managed to push his car into a turn lane. You know, so it would be out of traffic. There were no parking lanes on this main road. The flahsers were going. I'm like, okay, my mom has a gas can. Let's go over there, get the gas can, get gas, put gas in the car and get your car out of the street.

He didn't want to do that. He said he was really hungry and his car would be fine. I said, no, your car will not be fine. We need to get it out of here or it's going to be towed. Let's push it together. He was adamant that his car would be okay there in the turn lane of a major street until after dinner, as long as the flashers were going. I said, it's your car, man.

By the time we got out of the little Greek tavern, the night had turned dark. We got back in my car, drove over to my mom's, got the gas can, got gas, and drove back to the intersection where he left his car. But, guess what? Right, his car was gone. He couldn't believe it. "Someone stole my car!" he exclaimed. No one stole your car.

We drove over to the police station where we explained the situation to Officer Friendly. Officer Friendly did some checking and located Mike's car impounded at Shaner's on Clear Lake. I think it was Shaner's when Shaner's was still on Clear Lake. Anyway, Officer Friendly informed us that the impound lot was closed and we couldn't get the car until morning.

At this point, Mike is coming apart at the seams, so I'm engineering the late night retrieval of his car. I looked up Shaner's in the phone book and called the 24 hour tow line. After a lot of pleading, the owner graciously agreed to get out of bed and meet us at the tow lot. When we all get there, the owner wants something like $76.00 for the tow and impound fees. And he wants it now. In cash. And cash only.

Of course, Mike didn't have that kind of cash on him and neither did I. We told the owner we would go to the ATM and be right back. The owner is like, if you leave here now I won't be here when you get back.

I said, okay, Mike, you stay here with the guy, give me your ATM card and I'll go. There was no way I'm staying there with the guy by myself, plus I wasn't about to let Mike drive my car unsupervised, if you know what I mean. There were other complications before the night was over and the car freed, not the least of which, Mike didn't have his ATM card with him.

(Side note: There was a prior time when Mike was coming apart at the seams due to a crisis of his own creation and I couldn't handle it so I just walked away from him. I always regretted that, so I vowed to myself I would never abandon him again. Though, abandon him again, I would, I'm sorry to say.)

(Second side note: These days, you can't get your car out of impound for less than $350.00. I think.)

Long story short, that was the last time I was inside any business at Third and Washington, which is now, I'm sad to report, on the City of Springfield list to be demolished. Just not today. Springfield loves to demolish buildings.

* To the beat of a different drum..... (Linda.)

Posted by Marie at January 2, 2015 7:45 PM