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They're Tearing Down Tom Beaumont's Bar

     “They’re Tearing Down Tom Beaumont’s Bar!” came right out of Frank’s out of breath voice the instant he came through the door. But no one moved much more than a muscle, just an awkward silence.

       Not the response Frank expected on a busy Friday at the timeworn barber shop.

      “Isn’t that place pretty much held up with two toothpicks at this point?” Henry, the old bald barber finally uttered.

      “But it’s Tom Beaumont’s!”

        Nothing.

        Finally, Levi, getting his weekly trim spoke up. “Frank, you know most of us haven’t been in there for years. When Tom actually owned it they had that sassafras, but whomever owns it now doesn’t even keep the place up, just cheap beer. It ain’t the same. I think that’s why they closed it, really.”

       “Tom may be gone but it’s in that hold historic building. There has to be at least some controversy of sorts before they just destroy it, even if they did lock the doors last night.” Frank said.

        “It wasn’t even sassafras, just regular root bear. Though they had apple cider back in the day. They’d put some sort of crème twirl on it too,” Leo, a waiting customer, stated.

        “That was when it was more of a true pub, served food and stuff.” Henry replied. “Some time later, after the carnival stopped setting up in the park there, the place got taken over by juvenile delinquents.”

        “It wasn’t like that!” Frank said. “How would you know anyway, you said you hadn’t been there in years!”

         “I didn’t say that, Levi said he hadn’t. I just knew it was run down. A couple years ago some kid tried to buy beer, and when they kicked him out the current owner sprained his ankle on the old doorway, tried to blame them. Kids today.”

        “You can’t blame the bar for that, can you?”

        “No. But it became a dive. Sorry Frank. You should go over to Rookies. Have you been there? New place, huge TV screens up. Microbrews and nice food.” Said Leo.

        “Rookies? I hate that place! Every time I go by it, the place looks like some sort of college dorm. No character at all.”

          Leo just shrugged, as Henry went back to cutting Levi’s hair.

          As he turned and headed back out the door, all Frank could utter under his breath was, “It’s sad what our town has become.”

          It’s only a few blocks from the barbershop on Main Street to Tom Beaumont’s bar, but with the springtime air and clear skies Frank was up for a walk. Looking across Main he could see the businesses, and recalled what was once there. George &  Son’s toy store, now replaced by a café. A smoothie shop now sat where Main Street Hardware long ago stood, long ago out of business since the big box hardware store went in just next to the highway. Only the local music shop still stood, and it looked timeworn and neglected, no customers inside, or out.

         As Frank got to the bar he could already see men with hard hats looking at it, evaluating it. He could overhear one of them utter something about the oxidized plumbing, and asbestos insulation, how hazmat would be needed just to clean the place out.

        The men walked back to their truck to gather up a few items, and Frank walked up to the bar, peeking in the windows to get one last glance. This place was dark, the memorabilia on the walls from decades ago, the leather on the seats cracked and peeling, the mirror on the back of the bar hazy, the piano that sat near a small stage old and worn. The stories and memories from days gone by at Tom Beaumont’s flashed through Frank’s mind, those too seeming to have been from a better time, before the town became what it had become.

       "I’m sorry sir, but you’re going to have to move on.” It was one of the construction workers, politely bringing Frank to the present.

        Frank looked at him, then one last glance into the bar. “Sorry. I know, I know.”