Clan Cornelius executed as perfect a birthday as I ever expect to enjoy this weekend. Yeah, I turned 57 as of November 6. I got a rather stark reminder of this when I upgraded the
tracking device phone and the tech feller urged me to sign up for AARP to get all the discounts membership provides. I’ve been ignoring that outfit for some time, but a plew is a plew, so now I’m officially a member. What the hell?
That’s all by-the-by. I took advantage of a break in our blustery weather to get in a vigorous Frontier Partisan Biathlon, and did some work on the Vasquez episode — then we hied off down to Bend for dinner at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. As I mentioned in my post on the Billy Raid, the McMenamin Brothers repurpose old and often decrepit community landmarks into pub/hotel/venue complexes — with great food and a great vibe. This one, as the name indicates, was Bend’s Catholic school for decades. Now it’s a labyrinth of bars, a restaurant, a movie theater, a Turkish Bath… and …
After dinner, we adjourned to Hugh O’Kane’s a dark hole-in-the-wall of a cigar bar, featuring Grateful Dead music, a potbellied stove that could heat up hell’s hinges, and… cigars.
This sublime place is named for a 300-pound Irishman who built what is still the largest commercial building in Bend in 1916. Thanks to Bend Ghost Tours, I am now aware that the building is considered quite haunted.
As we sent up our celebratory smoke signals, Lady Marilyn surprised me with a fine blade.
It’s a custom piece by Steve Goddard of Eugene, inspired by but not a copy of the Hudson’s Bay Camp Knife — a Fur Trade work horse. I spotted the knife at the gun & knife show last weekend and fell under an enchantment. And Lady Marilyn did a thing, because that’s how she rolls. It wasn’t a secret, exactly, but I was told that I was not to tread into the territory of Badass Santa. And here it appears on my birthday… Well played, Lady Marilyn.
As you know, I love those old Scottish and Irish ballads that crossed the sea to form the foundations of country music. I especially like the dark ones, of which there are a-plenty. You know, the Celtic thing — as Chesterton said of the Gaels of Ireland, “all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad.” Being the inveterate “themer” that I am, I passed our blustery Friday listening to variations on Oh, The Dreadful Wind & Rain. That led me to the traditional recordings of Jody Stecher, which resonate right down to the bones… You know… like finger bones that get made into fiddle pegs…
Stecher recorded with Alasdair Fraser long and long ago…