The Only Question Remaining Now…is Where to Have that Last Drink Before Judgment Day?

My Home Bar

 With less than forty-eight hours remaining before Gabriel blows his sacred horn to summon the dead to meet their maker, I find myself  facing the usual end times quandary–where to have that last drink before judgment day?  While I’m not sure that I agree with Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping’s fuzzy Bible-based mathematical formulations which pinpoint May 21st as the beginning of the end–I was tempted not to make the minimum payments on this week’s round of credit card bills.

In the past,  I’ve attempted to avoid being caught up in the Rapture by remaining safely huddled behind my bar at home. But as this is the first official Judgment Day since we began publishing American Public House  Review in 2007, I feel compelled to hold that final session in one of the many fine establishments that have been featured in our publication. And after a period of careful deliberation, I’ve decided that it was only fitting to raise that parting glass in the place where it all began–The Boat House in Lambertville, New Jersey.

The Bar at The Boat House - Lambertville, New Jersey

It was right around the last time Mr. Camping predicted the end of the world in 1994, that my friend  Jim Morris-Lee and I, while enraptured by the ambience of  The Boat House,  discussed the possibility of a magazine dedicated to the virtues pub life. Unfortunately, this brilliant writer was unable to be part of the eventual online venture. But in the event that our time here is truly short, I thought that I would share the last piece of writing that Jim sent my way.

THE POWER OF A PENNY

A little short, I pay the balance due on
a large cup of coffee at the general store
with a few extra pennies.

Some small talk then with the owner
about their personal value – you know,
squashing them on the tracks of the great
Trans-Canadian Railway when we were kids,
using one for a fuse during a thunderstorm,
or as material for making pendants while
he was a machinist in the Pacific Fleet.

An excuse, really, to talk about nothing,
and everything, simply spending time over
pennies.

Jim Morris-Lee
Pennsylvania
July, 2006

As I once again read Jim’s words, I am reminded that it is those simple aspects of life and how we treat one another that will determine whether we exist in a heaven or a hell–because everyday is Judgment Day. So employ your judgment wisely! 

Posted by: Chris Poh

Lambertville’s Lovely Swan Song

It is quite a pity that the world over seems somewhat unaware of Lambertville, a beautiful little New Jersey village tucked onto the banks of the Delaware River.  But anyone who loves a great tavern, as well as restored 18th and 19th century architecture, would benefit greatly by getting to know her little better.

The Swan Bar in Lambertville, NJ

The American Public House Review has already been to a few of Lambertville’s fine drinking establishments. This week, Chris Poh returns to visit the Swan Bar, a gorgeous bar located in a building full to the brim with atmosphere and history.  Cheers!

Sometimes, the Bums Just Need to be Thrown out of the Bar!

Dean Martin in Rio Bravo

I was on my way home after a long day on the working side of the bar at the Indian Rock Inn when I got the news by way of  BBC radio that bin Laden had been apparently killed by U.S. forces. My initial reaction was one of  relief and perhaps a bit of smug gratuitous joy, but then the usual circumspect analytical side of my personality began to take hold. I knew that the man who had just got done proving the legitimacy of his birth would soon have to prove the legitimacy of another man’s death. And by early morning the crazies would already be spouting  their far-flung conspiratorial theories on both the airwaves and the web.

I have come to the conclusion that there resides within the human brain a place that allows small children to believe in the Easter Bunny and adults to believe in God–a wonderful place that operates on simple faith, and is more often than not a source of peace and comfort. But unfortunately, that same group of neurons and neural pathways that can foster strong beliefs without the benefit of any tangible evidence, can also give rise to dangerous distortions of the facts when driven solely by fear.

My own brand of logic causes me to question just how much we actually gain by the killing of one man. And while I fully support the notion of cutting off the head of the snake, I know that another serpent will soon emerge from the viper’s den. And all too often that snake tends to display even more loathsome reptilian-like behavior. But for the sake and safety of those decent well-behaved patrons that are presently sitting in the saloon, sometimes the bums just need to be thrown out of the bar. And even though there is probably a more nefarious scoundrel lurking in the shadows–we can thank God and the Easter Bunny for good bouncers and great Navy Seals!

Posted by: Chris Poh

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