The end of an era for the gang at Louie’s

To the editor:

Louie’s was rather quiet the other day when I went in. The usual crowd was there, but nobody was saying much.

“Where are we?” said someone.

“Whaddaya mean, ‘Where are we?’? The corner of Logan and Sycamore of course,” came an answer.

“No, I don’t mean that, dummy. I mean ‘Where are we as a country?’.”

“Well, I don’t know where you think you are, but I feel like I’m up the creek without a paddle.”

“Hey, you’re working, aren’t you? Paying the bills?”

“Yeah, sure, I’m OK that way. I just mean we have to listen to every day with all these politicians. It’s started over again. We have an election. Voting is all screwed up in Florida and lawyers are rushing in. Do I have to listen to weeks and weeks of people counting ballots again?”

“Hey, that’s not the worst part. The media have already started the next presidential race, as usual, on the very day after the midterms are over. How many Democrats are going to run? Is the total over 25 yet? Do I have to listen for the next two years about how each of them are falling by the wayside?”

“Pelosi, Schumer — give me a break. You know what somebody said the most dangerous thing you can do in Washington is? Step between Schumer and a TV camera.”

There was a pause then, and somebody said “You know the only answer is that you turn the TV set off for a while.”

There was silence after that, I guess because that seemed too radical a solution to the problem.

“You’re kidding yourself. You know we all love this stuff. Even if we didn’t have TV for it, we’d still be in here, beating each other up over drinks.”

“Well, it won’t be for much longer,” said Louie.

“Yeah, we’ll probably get over the election and start grousing about something else.”

“No, I don’t mean that,” said Louie. “I’ve been meaning to tell you guys this for a while. I’m closing the place. Loretta and I are going to Florida. She can’t take the winter here anymore. It’s too much for her.”

You could cut the silence with a knife. Louie went on.

“I don’t really mean the pace is closing down — my boy Eddie is taking it over. He’s going to fix the place up, cut down the size of the bar a little bit, put in some tables, serve lunch. He’s going to paint the place a different color and his wife has some pictures at home that she’ll put up in here. It’ll be real nice.”

The room was frozen in ice. Then somebody ventured “Where are you going in Florida, Louie?”

“Gulf Coast. We have a nice condo lined up near Tampa.”

That didn’t restart the conversation. The room remained frigid. Then Louie said “Anyway, I’m throwing a nice party for you guys on the house in here after Christmas — we’re closing over New Year’s so that Eddie can start fixing the place up.”

“OK, Louie, that’s great …”

“Yeah, I’m already looking forward to it …”

“Louie, you are a real prince. You always have been, you know what I mean?”

But the lights had already gone out in Louie’s, if you know what I mean.

John Brittain