Taylor Maxander The III and I were driving from New York City to ameeting we were to have in Pennsylvania the next morning. It was going on seven-thirty on a late summer night and we were just about to cross the Delaware river leaving New Jersey when I said ‘I know a little bar and grill a few minutes from here were we can get a drink and a good burger before we cross over into Pa’. Since we had eaten a major lunch with clients in the city and we really were not hungry, Taylor thought this was a decent idea and we proceeded to go to Reds Bar. At this time I would like to take a few minutes to discuss Taylor. He was a prototype New Yorker. He was dressed to the nines wearing a dark blue suit with a starched white shirt and a regimental blue and red tie. (I had changed into a light blue sweater with an open collared shirt, which made for comfortable driving.) Taylor was resplendent. Further, his speech was New Yorker fast and brusque. In short, He was magnificently a city man. On the other hand, the denizens of reds bar were average guys who worked mostly at the local foundries, good men all, but not the sophisticates of Taylor’s world. They were the ‘gimmie a beer,’ or ‘gimmie a shot’, blue-collar types who lived nearby, primarily within five miles driving distance of the bar. The barroom itself was about thirty feet wide by forty feet deep. It had a ten-seat bar right by the entrance door and there were five or six tables scattered around the room. There was also a jukebox in one corner, a pinball machine in another corner, a small pool table near the center, and a set of slate quoits boards running parallel with the bar. Mobility at Reds was limited. We opened the door and was met by an eye- smarting blue cloud of cigarette smoke, which was normal in any bar in that era.. The typical bar noise stopped momentarily as heads and eyes turned to the door. I had opened the door and Taylor went in before me. The glasses of beer on the way to the mouth stopped in midair until I came into view. After greetings and introductions were made, we squeezed in at the bar and were asked by Red, the proprietor ‘whataya’ have. This was directed to Taylor since Red had already slid a Schmidt’s beer over to me. Taylor said, “I would like a really dry martini’ with a few extra onions”, heads at the bar swiveled towards the center of action when Red came over to stand in front of Taylor. (Red, as always had a two-day stubble of beard, which perfectly set off the missing tooth in the center of his mouth.) Red came within three or four inches of Taylor’s nose and said. Rather loudly, “are you some kind of a nut?” “Do you want a shot or a beer?” Taylor, somewhat stunned, looked over Red’s shoulder at the bottles on the shelf and ordered a Corby’s and seven. (He had never drank Corby whiskey before but it was the first bottle that he saw and he latched on to it like a dog to a bone.) Too make a long story short; three hours later, Taylor was a true part of the scene. His tie was off, his shirt collar was open, his sleeves were rolled up and he was pitching a fair game of quoits. He had bummed and smoked numerous cigarettes, (which I had never seen him do before,) and he was cavorting from seat to seat, a friend to all. At one time, he and his new pals, Lefty, Jonesy, and NitNat were pitching quoits while on their knees. (The guys at Red’s still talk about that.) Some of the other men at the bar were--- Big AL ---Al had lost most of the fingers on his right hand and delighted in shaking hands with a stranger with his thumb --- Bo--- Bo had a large scar across his face which gave him a formidable look belying the fact he was a gentle man--- Kenny--- Kenny had lost a leg in an accident and when the mood struck him he took off the prosthesis and waved it around causally. Just the normal group. Shortly before midnight, I took Taylor to the motel and he went to bed singing a few words from a song he heard while at the bar. It was something called – The whiskey was spilled on the barroom floor, I think. The next morning when we met in the lobby, Taylor was resplendently attired once again. He did not say much over coffee. He just read the paper. However, when we got in the car to go to our meeting, Taylor said in a very serious manner “I have never seen anything like that before. That was a barroom full of Archie Bunkers”. He did not say anything more and neither did I. However Taylor is still discussed with a certain fondness to this day, years later at Red’s bar.
Raymond V. Morrow