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relief pitcher Vladimir Nabokov once described a "poetic hangover" as: "…he got up and passed immediately from a world of many interesting dimensions into one that was cramped and demanding, with a different pressure, which instantly caused his body to tire and his head to ache; into a world of cold water." In other words, I was in Cannon Beach and Astoria recently, met some very cool and beautiful people, and then had to drive back to my home in Tillamook County.I was hung to the roof. Strong verbs flooded my mind as I drove south on Highway 101 into Seaside, past the irrelevant DARE sign, past the factory outlet mall, tailgating a Dodge Dynasty with a bumper stick that read, "I proudly pledge my allegiance to one nation under God." Pledge is a strong verb, and I can dig it in the context of…I pledge my allegiance to the morbid compost and the magic of distillation and the relief they offer me in the times that try men’s souls, which is pretty much 24 hours a day since the Great American Usurpation. Relieve—a truly wonderful verb. Caught in the paralyzing 101 traffic however, I thought of a better one—slake…as in slaking my thirst. So imagine my joy when I spied the Relief Picher Tavern just south of Seaside. I ripped into the parking lot, sent the gravel flying like a bursting fragmentation grenade, and within seconds had a pint of McTarnahan’s in my hand. At the first taste, another verb came to mind—temporize, as in to "gain time" or "postpone" the season of the witch. The Relief Pitcher offers superb relief and temporizing, either at a table near the window, at the bar in the high-backed vinyl chairs straight from the set of "Mannix" or in what the tavern’s management bills as "Seaside’s Best Beer Garden." Why think small when it comes to titles? Having been in nearly 75 drinking joints up and down 101 the past six years, I anoint this beer garden as the best one on the Oregon Coast. It’s an oasis out back with horseshoe pits for sport and manicured grass to soften any sodden men who fall to Earth. As I surveyed the garden, the verb annex materialized in my consciousness…as in the Let it Pour kingdom has now officially annexed the Relief Pitcher. And let it be said now that We The Drinkers pledge never to violate civil liberties of our client states to protect their civil liberties. They can even serve malt colas or hard lemonades without fear of reprisal. I can’t say much for the Relief Pitcher’s dÈcor. It’s mostly faded beer posters of busty young women who only a jowly man in the advertising trade who screams "market share" during brief intercourse would find attractive. About the only thing of visual interest is the photograph of golfer Peter Jacobsen grabbing his crotch after a bad shot. That verb, grab, a feisty action that appears to have fallen into erotic favor with President Bush and his henchmen. They remind me of a rabid but sober bat let loose into a peaceful night without the power of echolocation. Savor was the verb to use regarding my lunch at the Relief Pitcher. The tuna steak sandwich was the best one I’ve ever eaten and was more food than I typically consume in three days. I was astounded by the number of people in the tavern apparently there to eat and not drink. I try not to judge such teetotaling folks but it does warm my heart that they’ve made the choice to dine in an independent eatery that doesn’t rely on a focus group to pick out a decorating scheme. These folks preserve what is still great about this country. And isn’t it interesting that in the summer, many of the aforementioned ones I meet in the Let it Pour kingdom are Europeans. To pledge, to relieve, to slake, to savor, to preserve. Strong verbs indeed. Visit the kingdom soon.
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