For about two years, we’ve had this catch-all room, which has been known as “office,” “library,” “study” and “the future pub.” Being snowed in for a couple of days last week built the time into our schedule to complete the task.
The room is now known as Sam & Bull’s Publick House. It’s the taproom for Mongrel Brewing Company and brewvana headquarters. It’s outfitted with an eight-foot bar, two taps (and occasionally a third down in the basement), a weak selection of booze (but we do have Templeton Rye), and a blast of my personality on the walls, ranging from Shakespeare to Zeppelin, Joan Jett to my Gramps, Butch Cassidy to Paul Simon, Gene Simmons to Johnny Cash, Tom Petty to Flogging Molly. And lotsa books and tunes. It’s sorta eclectic.
But what about Sam and Bull? I’m sure they’d both roll over in their graves, but Sam is Sam Stearns, my Great-great grandfather. My Grampa Wilson had Sam’s portrait hanging in his basement when I was growing up, and he always used to tell this story about old Sam heading out to Wyoming for awhile. On his way out, he stumbled across Sitting Bull, who challenged him to a wrestling match, because he looked “full of piss and vinegar.” Sam proceeded to whip Sitting Bull soundly and went on his way. As he returned through the same neck of woods on his way back to Iowa, he crossed Sitting Bull’s path again, and offered a re-match. Sitting Bull would have no part of it. Family lore, it is, and I’ve done enough reading about Sitting Bull to know that it didn’t happen. Still, it’s a fun story, and when I inherited the picture at my grandfather’s death a couple of years ago, I immediately bought a print of Sitting Bull and hung them side-by-side. Knowing my family, I’d guess that Sam didn’t drink, and while I know that fire water did/is doing little good for Native Americans, “Sam & Bull’s” sounds good, and represents a piece of me.
Organizing this room has done wonders for other parts of our house: a closet, or living room and especially the kitchen, which was overflowing with superfluous glassware. It’s provided a usable work space and clears our table of the all-to-often look of a cluttered desk. The desk that we didn’t much use is now organized and a better space in another place for bill paying, etc.
Aside from freeing up clutter from other parts of our home, there are two great benefits. For quite some time we’ve lived a good hour and a half from a decent pub. Now, we have an inviting space right here at home, not the “someday I’m going to put a bar in that room” version of a fun drinking space. I look forward to inviting friends over to enjoy it with us. The other positive is that my writing notebooks and ideas are all in order. My bar is my desk, and I’m sure I’ll sit down to that. All these backburner projects are likely to surface, and I’m excited about getting some writing on track.
Now if Wonderful Beer Wife would just let me trade our dining room table for a pool table…