When I was three or four or five I was walking down West Liberty with my Uncle John. Maybe we were walking home from church, or maybe we went to Islay's for chipped ham, or maybe we were just walking. I was following him, keeping my eyes on his pant legs in front of me. I must have looked off for a minute.
I remember there was a hobby store on West Liberty with plastic models in the window one of which was a scene from the Pit and the Pendulum. There was a man tied to a table and a pendulum swinging above him. There was another man watching. I think he was a monster but I'm not really sure what I mean by that. I had not read The Pit and the Pendulum. Still haven't. But I was always compelled and terrified by that model. What would happen to the man on the table? I might have been looking at it.
I looked back and started following the pant legs in front of me, which turned and walked into a bar. I didn't really know it was a bar. I remember looking up and seeing a bunch of men staring at me. My Uncle John walked in, laughing and asked if I wanted a beer. Everyone laughed.
For some reason this story is in heavy rotation in the mommy's head this week. She tells me over and over and over. Sometimes she thinks she dreamed it. She adds and subtracts details. There is no doubt my very Methodist grandmother would not have been happy about it. Some times (in Mom's version) Uncle John tells me not to tell her. Some times he swoops me up and carries me home.
My own memory may contain falsehoods. I remember the pants and looking up and Uncle John laughing.
I've always loved bars.