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By: Jasper R.
The Avenue Bar
It is the worse shame for a detailed builder and Artisan to shoulder. I knew the fella too, he having drank to excess but almost every piece of finished wood was cut, milled and/or assembled with great love for the craft by him. The booths, Wainscoting and even the flooring he milled between games of pool, shots and continual degradation from the owner & staff. Yes, there were many ups & downs; floors included, but his discerning eye for exquisite detail, form & functionality earned him a job for my home after the beautiful Bow Windows he thought of, drafted and milled through uncaring patrons bad-vibeing their impatience to his mere presence. Even after he'd given up trying to pocket one red cent from that money-pinching owner, that man still put forth so much effort to the finished product, that some pondered and chided that he might be by some measures retarded in the manner of exerting far too much effort. just to garner a morsel of approval by his peers. That never came of course, try as he might. some short time later he was struck down by an attack by some sore loser, leaving him bereft of memory, Skills and ability for what I deemed to the end of his days. Not so, as I found out almost 20 years later driving through another college town in northern California. granted, he was building for some 'other' bar owner, but seemed almost at the ease of a Journeyman's level of knowledge. Yes I stopped in & not only admired the workmanship by his hand, but buying him lunch, for conversation of what he'd been doing since I'd seen him comatose in some valley hospital.As it happens, between the last fourteen years since I'd last seen him, he graduated some community college with Honors, and is now attending a C.S.U. with appears the same ferocity. He said grudgingly, that his mind still has the same vivid picture of how things go together for function & aesthetics, but because his spoken delivery is a lot slower, most don't give him the possibility to produce what I remember as works fit for royalty. He chuckled, but I could see the discomfort behind that laugh.Finally, after an excellent meal he'd recommended, gaining his trusted handshake and starting north again, how sad I felt. A man of his caliber and ability having been used & abused by an ungrateful, no-less-than slave-driver who would have just as fast insult and ridicule him as he would grab a $20 bill falling out of another's pocket & not say a word. That ungrateful piece of @#$% really destroyed a person who was then, as he seemed today the same caring, detail-oriented person I shared a meal with today. That thug never offered him a dime, by his own admission. Had my newly reacquainted friend not put forth the effort in what I think all the beauty and nuance to his workmanship, the 'Avenue bar & cheap cigar' would have never taken flight to prosperity. Everybody from past & time there, owes that man a great debt for their immediate wealth. Such a farging icehole he was, always dangling an unreachable carrot for one more thing completed. You, former owner & staff, should all be ashamed of yourselves for not reaching out with some form of help, acknowledgement or even apathy to his well-being. Fie on you all!!!The ONLY thing I rate a 5-Star is my old friend's ability to construct an atmosphere of welcoming through his ability of Artisan-ship.

Just a moment...