Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…
When I worked for The Bar I dressed up a bit on weekends. I added a vest to my basic attire of long sleeve shirt, medicine bag and The Hat. Not being a fan of neckties, I instead used silk scarves cleverly tied so the knots were invisible. This added a dash of color to my outfit and allowed me to avoid the constraint of total conformity. We called it an “ascot” although it didn’t tie like an ascot normally does. I still dress this way when I want to dress more or less formally.
For almost a year I favored tie-tacks, an accessory meant to keep a necktie from drifting out of alignment. I had a few of these and liked the bit of sparkle they added to my weekend costume.
One night a young man came in. He was a friend I had known from the Gelb days. He was something of a Grateful Dead fan and he told me he had been to the recording session the Dead did in Cairo, Egypt, in 1978. While he was there he said he had climbed to the top of the largest pyramid of the three at Ginza, the Khufu monument, and brought back some small pieces of it. He gave me a small chunk of this material. It wasn’t very large. It was a little smaller than an M & M peanut candy.
Well, of course, this bit of sandy colored stone just radiated MoJo!
I decided to make a tie-tack out of it. I got some sandpaper and very carefully rendered the thing into a small pyramid. It was soft… something like sandstone, easy to work. I had a flat surfaced tie tack so I very carefully mixed some epoxy and glued the mini-pyramid onto it and let it set for the required period.
The weekend was approaching so I checked to see how my glue job went and it looked good. No excess glue and the little pyramid seemed firmly anchored. It was a Saturday night, a band night, a night I usually wore my ‘dress’ outfit, the vest and scarf/ascot and debuted my fragment of pyramid on tie tack. For whatever reason I was extremely conscious of the thing. I was very aware of it thinking about its antiquity and the history and mystery of the edifice it came from.
I went down early and remember it being a moody night, weather-wise. Forecasters had predicted wind and rain so I figured I’d better get there before the inclement weather struck. The duty doorman, Dan York, was a good friend and was already there when I arrived.
I told him about my new tie tack. He had been there when the young man gifted the bit of rock to me and was pleased with the effect. It didn’t particularly stand out but he could definitely see it was a mini-pyramid and pronounced it a good job. I told him I liked it except my very colorful imagination had me being followed by two robed, bald headed guys who saw no humor in my using a piece of their ancient temple for a bit of frippery.
Well, the weather guys were correct. We had a noisy squall pass through our area… rain, darkness, lightning, wind…a very noisy storm front. Right at the peak of the squall, the door to the bar opened and a well dressed man with a swarthy complexion came in and walked up to Dan and myself. He spoke oddly accented English and asked for directions to somewhere…exactly where escapes me now… and Dan cheerfully provided the information he required.
I was curious about his accent so I asked him where he was from.
“Egypt.” he said.
Well, you Know that set the hair on my arms to rising!
Oddly, the storm abated in the next half hour and it was clear the rest of the night.
…and when I got home that night the tie tack was gone. I never saw it again…