Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Beautiful Spring Sunday Morning in Portland: Breakfast at Rumpspanker's

Heater, blower, clock. In order, what I saw when dawn cracked. It's what I see every morning. Dolly-girl stretched. "Sun." She got out of bed and headed for the Tappan. I heard the burner go on, the percolator start, and the door of the Frigidaire open, then close. Blond for the joe. Dolly-girl's got to have it. Says she doesn't, but she does. I heard the joe gurgle done, got up, grabbed a mug, and picked up the Rex Parker. It took about 15 minutes, easy for a Friday grid.

Dolly-girl came in from outside. "Nice morning for a stroll. Let's put on the feedbag over in the Woodlawn Triangle." I was amenable. There's a joint over there, below the Village Ballroom, that she and me go in now and then. We call Woodlawn home--picked it because the Woodlawn Pears play there. They're a team we follow, follow? I grabbed my usuals--blower, heater, Luckies--and off we went. We walked by Kitty's. "Hen fruit?" "Already ate." "Joe?" "Nah." Kitty had plans.

The Woodlawn Triangle and Ladd's Addtition are about the only parts of Stumptown that aren't on the straight and narrow, plat-wise. Woodlawn's seen good and it's seen rough and it's seeing good and rough right now.

The spot we were headed to was clearly marked. It's a feed-a-torium you've read about before. Dolly-girl wrote about it once, it fact, the first time Dolly-girl stepped into these pages was when she wrote about another time we came here. With Kitty turns out.

It's called Rumpspankers, probably for a whole lot of reasons if you are of a mind to believe what you might read in the broadsheets or hear on the street about what might or might not happen up in the dance hall upstairs. Me and Dolly-girl got no opinion one way or another on that.

We walked in. I eyed the layout, saw that maybe there might be something a little true about the whole dance hall thing. Missy said sit anywhere. We did. Dolly-girl picked a table by the wall where I could turn sideways and see the whole place plus the door. Dolly-girl knows what I'm looking for when it comes to keeping an eye on Stumptown, even on Sunday morning. A group sat in the window, and a librarian and a chiquita that Dolly-girl knows were sitting at the bar doing a Rex Parker, dictionary open next to them. I made a note of that. A couple ought to be able to make quick work of a Rex with a book like that.

Dolly-girl picked up a whadda-ya-want and gave it the once over. "Late enough for lunch." Dolly-girl's favorite feedbag is a lunch box. Missy brought Bull Run. "Joe?" "Had enough." "Squeeze some for youse?" "Bull Run will do it." "What's yours?" "Give me the Eh-Talian, all the cowfeed, crunch some Iowa yellow in the alley with south-of-the-border music." "It's yours. Pal?" "Wreck two, grind the hog, whiskey down." "On it."

I took a drink, swallowed, took another. Damn. It's water. The joint's got some strange stuff hanging around, like lights. Art, too, like a couple nice murals and some RCA Victors that've been painted on. Seems like it's OK to write on the walls too. I'm guessing it's the got-no-blower crowd leaving meet-mes for each other. Quaint.

Missy brought the feedbags and we tied them on. Dolly-girl slipped me a peek though the wave that let me know that the sandwich packed in her Dale Evans was just right. The south-of-the-border music was made right there and was tasty. Mine was just what you'd expect from an order that started "wreck two." It's what the doc had in mind for me today.

Missy was back to check on us. "Howzit?" "No spots left to hit." "Dolly-girl?" "Molto bene." Dolly-girl speaks what she eats. That's why she doesn't go for kielbasa but once a year. "You from outta-town?" "Nope, Woodlawn, why?" "Don't get many shutterbugs in here, that's all." "Hobby of mine."

I walked back to the bar to settle up. A George short of a Jackson did the trick and left a smile on Missy's face. It had the look of a slow day and he's got bills to cover just like Dolly-girl and me. The librarian asks me what's up with the Kodak. Missy breaks in, "I already drilled him. He's OK. From the neighborhood."

We slipped out the front door, still wondering about the Village Ballroom. We headed for home, along the angled streets, just soaking up the sun and passing the time, the way we do, talking about this or that.


Karen said...

Funny you mention getting asked about the kodak. I've wondered what folks thought of your picture taking. :-)

Ronna said...

Love your blog!!!