Keithsburg for dry town Seaton residences was kind of sin city. Several bars, a Tastee-Freez and watching the Mississippi amble down South made the place, and the 7 miles, well worth the trip.
Helen and Blackie ran the bar and with a cold beer and Blackie's skills in the kitchen made the Hiway the go-to spot.
The Wombie and I used to go down and play pinball on machines that are considered obsolete now. A fine cast of characters inhabited the place and it was always friendly. Blackie for a time would fix smelt and serve it free for patrons, then he switched over to chicken wings. It was where I had a party before getting married the next day. Don Levine joined us and made it extra special because he was there.
We even brought down a contingent of college buddies one Sunday and ended up having a coaster battle that by all accounts was friendly and approved by the owners. My loyal reader, friend and fellow student, Russ Foust, was part of this adventure and maybe he will send in his recollections.
Not known for his philanthropy, Blackie used to slip me a free carton of cigs whenever I'd stop by on my way back to Denver and grad school. he was a bit hard of hearing and every so often he'd reply with something totally opposite of what was being discussed with humorous results. Nice people, he and Helen and they set the tone for an atmosphere conducive to harmonious chatting with friends. If I ever saw a fight or unruly drunkeness, I can't remember it.
The above picture is a family visit to the place when we all went down to have a final meal and beer. They retired and closed the place around '93-'94. That's the Wombie and Herb. It almost looks like the Wombie is picking up the tab but I can assure you that is not the case.
Blackie was at the Monmouth nursing home for awhile and he died in 1998. Helen is still alive but suffers from Alzheimer's.
Sometime after its closing, the place was sold to someone who renamed it Tweety's Hi-Way Tap. They remodeled the place and it lost its charm. I think they may have kept the grill going, but whenever I went down it wasn't to eat. Tim and I went down a few Sundays on the bikes to partake in Bloody Mary Sundays. They had this $1.00 Bloody Mary Sunday Special and became the best bargain in the two-county area.
Here we are in the back beer garden area enjoying big fat cigars from the Dominican Republic. It had become a rather odd place, it seemed, populated by odd people, and an owner who didn't hold back any on her disdain for the certain owner of a certain bar in Aledo.
It occurs to me that we find pockets of perfection throughout life: perfection of childhood in Seaton, perfection at Iowa Wesleyan, perfection at work, and family and friends at BFE. The perfection of a Bloody Mary, a big cigar and a buddy on a bike ride. These pockets don't last forever, and we don't always recognize the perfection at the time, but only in looking back.
Blackie's was a pocket of perfection for quite a while. So long again Blackie, and so long Tweety's.