Then years later, my military career flushed down one of those ice filled urinals, I find myself in a Sun Prairie, WI, truck driving school. Just a mile or so down the road is a bar called Patches.
Patches becomes my primary home, while the hotel I was sleeping in was my tertiary home. The truck driving school, my secondary, with its eleven hour days.
When you spend as much time in a bar as I was Patches, you get to know the staff, and in a small town like Sun Prairie, the owners. One day, the owner was carrying a five gallon bucket of ice to the men’s bathroom and I asked.
“Why do you put ice in the urinals?” To this point, I was convinced it was for the entertainment factor.
“It cuts down the smell.” He said, after shooting me an irritated glare.
Normally, I am pretty analytical, and would have given it some thought. But I dismissed it and resumed consuming my ice melting fuel. But I did remember Joe’s comment a few years earlier about knowing when you are in a high class joint. Patches was not exactly a classy joint.
Then my life took a serious down turn, and for twenty years I quit living, and the concept of ice melting under the fierce stream of beer tainted urine faded from my memory. I did find myself in the occasional bar or tavern in those twenty years, but not a single one of them chose ice over the mints we are asked not to eat.
This last summer I rediscovered life, and resumed living it.
I am not sure if Joe remembers that night in some seedy Alabama bar when he imparted his wisdom about ice and urinals onto me. But it came rushing out of the depths of buried memories’ as I stood at the urinal in what will never be called a seedy bar.
I was in Chicago, Connie and I stopped at a wine bar for lunch. This place was fancy. In fact it was a particular type of restaurant, but the name slips me. It offered expensive whine samplers, and even more expensive food with names I did not recognize. Oh, and most of the staff spoke with an accent you don’t readily hear in most parts of this country.
It was a nice place.
After we figured out what we were going to order, I excused myself, and headed to the men’s room. As I took my place at the urinal, I looked down, and there it was. I pile of ice just waiting for me to cut it apart like a hot knife through butter. Initially, Joe’s statement from those long lost years didn’t hit home. But as I finished obliterating ice cubes, it slipped from behind the curtain of faded memories, and a smile spread across my features.
High class joints use ice too Joe.