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When The Tender’s Out, The Tide’s Inn – by Tim Spoon

When The Tender’s Out, The Tide’s Inn – by Tim Spoon

When that picture opened my whole memory bank went into overload! Parked my Hog to the right of that telephone pole for about 2 years because we couldn’t take them on the base in the 50′s. Lived in the Gate Bar, at least after Gladys tried to improve the clientele in the Brown Derby. In fact, Jack gave me a job tending bar in early ’59 so I could try to work off some of my bar tab. Big mistake on his part! And the main gate itself. A volume could be written about the things that took place at that guard shack between the boat sailors and the jarheads!

You mention the girls of the Gate Bar. Dirty Betty was the skinny one and Betty Boots was the heavier one. She was the day barmaid and the one that tried to ‘mother’ us. (“Have you eaten anything besides Slim Jim’s and pickled eggs this week?” “No more beer until you get your clothes out of the laundry. They close in 30 min and your getting underway in the morning.”) Thank God that every good submarine bar had a “Betty” that took care of us dumb kids! Betty lived over top of Sloppy Joe’s Bar with Mooney, her Cuban boyfriend and local taxi driver.

Remember the saying “When the tenders out the Tide’s Inn”?  The Tide’s Inn was where all the wives of deployed sailors would congregate to do what bored wives do.  I was sitting in the Gate early one evening staring at my beer bottle and cursing the fact that the tender had returned to port several hours earlier. “No sense in going to the Tide’s Inn tonight. Just sit here and see who wanders in.” There were only about six guys in the place. All sitting alone, and all silently cursing the return of he tender. As usual the front door was open and daylight was shining through the opening. When the light level changed I looked towards the door just in time to see the “flash” and hear the “BANG!” I knew ‘he’ had missed me the first time and I dove off the stool before he had the chance to fire again. Total silence! After a couple of minutes I carefully raised my eyes above the bar to see if the ‘guy with the gun’ was still there. All I saw was five other pairs of eyes doing the same thing, including the bartender. Sure wish we could have caught that smart-ass that tossed the firecracker in the door! It might have been funny at another time, but not the day the tender comes home.



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