HillBilly Ranch Bar Boston

As you get old you forget. as you get older, you are forgotten – anon

I know that I didn’t come up with that quote, because I haven’t really forget everything yet and the other day I was reminiscing about Lost Boston with a few old-timers at the bar of Jacob Wirth’s.

“Remember when they didn’t let women drink at the bar here?” William hailed from Savin Hill. He was a double eagle same as my older brother. They had worked together on several senate campaigns for Ted Kennedy.

“Yes, I used to bring my feminist friends here for a joke. They hated that the bartender would serve them at the bar. I thought it was a good laugh.” I was a long-hair college student on the other side of the barricades from my older brother and William, who was fourteen years older than me.

“Maybe the bartender didn’t think it was that funny.” William had been a Marine.

“No, he loved telling those hairy girls to take a seat in the dining room.” I couldn’t remember his name, but we agreed that a woman’s place wasn’t at the bar of Jacob Wirth’s.

“You dirty hippie and I mean that in the best of all possible terms.”

My brother showed up later and our collective memories toured the city of our past. We extolled the prune rolls at Warmuths, the grilled hot dogs at WT Grants, the strippers at the Two O’Clock Lounge, and relived my brother’s bachelor party in the Combat Zone. It was a blank in my mind.

“I vaguely recall stumbling out of the Naked I into the Hillbilly Ranch. I think I wanted to hear MAMA TRIED.”

“We lost you for about an hour.”

“Probably ended up with the drag queens at the Other Side.” William laughed with his beer belly juggling like defrosted jello. The beer at Jacob Wirth’s was better than good.

“No, I’d remember that. At least I think I would, but something sticks in my mind about getting up on the stage of the Hillbilly Ranch and singing a song.” I had seen Sleepy La Beef, John Lincoln Wright, the Bayou Boys, and other southern b-bands of the 70s at the Park Square dive.

“That was a tough bar owned by Frankie Segalini. You were lucky that you weren’t rolled in that place. it was filled with Navy peckerwoods and crackers. They didn’t like us Irish.”

“You returned to the Naked I intact.” My older brother had a head for long ago. He was a lawyer.

“And we made it to the church in time.”

The three of us clinked glasses to those times gone by.

We thought that they would never end and they don’t at Jacob Wirths’ or in your memory.

Jacob Wirth – Boston’s Bratwurst Himmel

A group of 40-year old Boston College alumni discussed where they should meet for dinner.

Finally they agree upon meeting at Jacob Wirth on Boylston Street restaurant where some of the patrons at the bar have low cut blouses and nice breasts.

10 years later, at 50 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally they agree that they should meet at the Jacob Wirth because the food was very good and the wine selection was good also.

10 years later at 60 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally they agree that they should meet at the Jacob Wirth, because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free.

10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group meets again and once more they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally they agree that they should meet at Jacob Wirth because the restaurant is wheel chair accessible and they even have an elevator.

10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group meets again and once more they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally they agree that they should meet at the Jacob Wirth’s because that would be a great idea because they have never been there before.

Last month I ate at Jacob Wirth’s.

They offered a great selection of draft beers and their bratwurst nibbler was the perfect meal before the train or bus from Boston to New York. I also recalled going there with feminists in the early 70s who would get pissed by the bartenders refusing their orders at the bar.

No women allowed.

Those were the days.

But I do believe in equality for women.

100%.

It’s only right.

PASSING GRADE by Peter Nolan Smith


My older brother worked too much. Frunk had a big house on Milton Hill and I was in Boston to visit my father. Frunk was at his office, as were most lawyers in Boston on a weekday.

“Meet me at Durgin Park.” I loved their chowder.

“Can’t.” He sounded stressed.

“What about Jacob Wirth?” Their Bratwurst special cost $9.95.

“Can’t.”

“Then I’ll come see you.”

“I’m busy.”

His son attended an Ivy League school. The tuition for pre-med was astronomical.

“Then I guess I’ll have to settle for a visit from your son.”

“Franka’s coming to New York?”

“Yes, he’s a big fan of Taylor Swift and I got him tickets to see her on Saturday Night Live.”

The blonde singer was a country-western pop sensation.

“This coming Saturday?”

“Yes.”

“His mother and I were planning on driving down to Philadelphia and he said he was studying.”

“Maybe he is.”

“No, he blew us off to see a singer with you. I can’t believe this. I’m working seven days a week, so he can going to New York. What is he thinking?”

“It is a Saturday and I think Franka’s in love.”

“He’s 18. How would he know love?”

“Taylor Swift sings love songs.”

My older brother blew a gasket and ranted at his son and me. I held the phone away from my ear, until his voice resumed a reasonable tone.

“Sorry.”

“I’m not blaming you, but Franka isn’t getting into medical school with a B in biology.”

“Maybe in the Philippines.” MY GP had received his medical license from Dagupan City Univeristy and he hadn’t killed anyone as far as I knew.

“I’m not paying for Franka to have a good time.”

“It’s just one night.”

“You’re right. Franka’s a big boy. He makes his own decisions, but I have to pay for them.”

I understood my brother’s temper tantrum. I supported two families. I ate left-over. More than twice a week.

“So what about Jacob Wirth’s?”

“Naw, I’m just going to wallow in misery.”

“It does love company. Last offer. Franka’s going to SNL. You’re coming to Jacob Wirth’s. I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

“I’ll see you in 15.”

We spoke about our youth, eating bratwurst and drinking beer. Several lawyers were at the bar. We had a second beer. I had a third. My brother and I hugged outside on Boylston Street.

“I’ll make sure he gets to bed at a decent hour.”

“What’s the use?”

Later that evening I called Franka and told him about the visit to his father.

“Uncle Bubba, don’t worry. I’m doing fine.”

“What about your grades?”

“They are what they are. I’m trying my hardest.”

“That’s all I can ask from you.”

“See you this weekend. I hope you can introduce me to Taylor.”

“I’ll do my best.” I had graduated ‘sin laude’ from Boston College in the last century, but I could get into SNL to see Taylor Swift and that was the only passing grade I needed to make Franka a happy boy.

And bratwurst at Jacob Wirth’s worked wonders with his father.

As it does with any man.

Rocket Madness in Isaan

Every year Thailand’s northeastern provinces hold a rocket festivals to entice the Naga spirits to deliver the right amount of rain for the rice growing season and rocket enthusiasts from every corner of Asia flock to scenic Yasothon to participate in the missile mayhem with their specially constructed ‘bang fai naga’ rockets.

No one wears helmets or goggles, but many participants drink copious amounts of sura or lao whiskey as an extra safety precaution, figuring that if you get drunk enough, then you will lie in the shade of a tree out of harm’s way.

Winners are decided by how long the Bong Fai or rocket projectiles constructed of bamboo or PVC piping and fueled by a mixture of nitrate and charcoal remain in the air. Rockets are required to be at least 3 meters in length. Over 50% never leave the ground, but those achieving take-off fly without any benefit of guidance.

Explosives, lao whiskey, and a four-day celebration are the right ingredients for misadventure as was proven by a potentate from the pseudo-ruling party several years ago. His missile was the biggest in the festival (6 meters) and billed as the acme of bamboo rocketry.

The farmers toasted the minister with lao whiskey.

He lit the fuse with an elite tooth-whitened smile.

The rocket rose from the earth and then veered off into the distance. Everyone cheered the minister. The happy ending on the missile range was not matched by the the village 3 kilometers away, where the rocket landed, blowing windows from the school van and nearby houses as well as scattering rocket debris over the area.

How do you say ‘opps’ in Thai?

The minister claimed responsibility and did not flee the scene of the incident.

It had to be a first.

If getting drunk and playing with explosives is your thing, then head up country to catch the blast-offs.

It’s sanuk mak.

No More Government

Less than five hours remain of January 19, 2018 and the federal government will cease to operate unless the Democrats and GOP can agree on a budget. Donald Trump canceled his trip to Mar-O-Lago to meet with Senator Charles Schumer without any resolution of several issues such as the Dreamer visas for 800,000 undocumented children and health care for over nine million children.

40% of federal workers will be furloughed, parks will be shut, and phones will be answered by machines as always.

Social Security and food stamps will still be sent out.

It’s a showdown.

And neither side wants to blink.