Final goodbye to an old friend | Wally’s World

A few weeks ago, Art Pohlot died. He was a good friend – and that, of course, is one of the highest compliments I can pay him or anyone else.

A few weeks ago, Art Pohlot died. He was a good friend – and that, of course, is one of the highest compliments I can pay him or anyone else.

Yet, we really didn’t spend much time together. I knew him mostly as a bartender in the old Rainier Tavern, before it served hard booze.

Art was a product of two of the largest pioneer families in the Enumclaw region: the Berrillas and the Osborns. He was a round shouldered, unhurried fellow with a full, scruffy, gray beard and a mop of closely chopped, unruly gray hair. He was crude and vulgar with a street-level vernacular and his quick-witted explicit retorts embarrassed a lot of ladies when they first met him, but it didn’t take them long to adjust to his raunchy ways and recognize the genuine humor in many of his remarks.

I recall the time a tiny, waif-like teenie-bopper bounced up to the bar to order the second or third beer she’d ever bought. Her face shone with youthful excitement as she gazed up at the grandpa figure behind the counter. “Hey, Mister! Can you serve me?”

Art’s unflinching eyes stared at her with the intensity of a full-blown warlock. “My little darling,” he purred with a sensual warmth that would have blistered paint on a fire hydrant. “I’ll be glad to serve you any damned way I can.” The blood rushed to her cheeks, she shyly lowered her eyes and her confidence and enthusiasm melted before this weather-beaten veteran of the Sixties.

I first met Art on the rear steps of the Rainier Tavern. The chemistry between us and within us was so similar there was no need for introductions or suspicious sparring. He simply moved to one side and I sat down beside him. (After bouncing around New Orleans, New York and the East Coast for several years, it was my first night back in Enumclaw and, except for a few relatives, Art was the first person I met.)

“What’s happenin’?” I asked.

“Do you mean rationally, psychologically or socially?” he countered.

I smiled. “I wasn’t being that philosophical.”

“Well, the Rainier is a very philosophical place!” He roared with that familiar loud and uninhibited laugh.

During his time with us, Art didn’t accomplish a hell of a lot of anything and really didn’t want to. He didn’t have any children and had very little money. In fact, about all he ever did was serve us beer and, in that capacity, many people from all levels of our town’s societal hierarchy knew him. He certainly wasn’t a pillar of the community, like many locally-famous business entrepreneurs I’ve written about, and he certainly didn’t leave a community legacy behind. Indeed, in a few years there won’t be anything – not even memories – to indicate he was ever here.

Of course, that’s true of all of us. But for me, Art was a bit more than just another passing flash of light in the dark. He was a good friend.

More in News

Hardhats and heavy equipment continue to dot school grounds

Many students on the Plateau and in the valley have a lot to look forward to in the near future.

Free construction classes help make community connections

Building Beyond the Walls, an Enumclaw-based non-profit, offers folks of all stripes a way to learn new skills and form long-lasting connections through volunteer work.

Human remains identified as those of missing Enumclaw man

Kristian Burnstad was last seen alive on Feb. 7, 2017.

Golden anniversary celebration held in former maternity home

It’s estimated more than 600 babies were born in the Mahlin Maternity Home, now known as the Le Sorelle Inn in Buckley.

Patrols to emphasize districted driving over the weekend | Washington State Patrol

Don’t contribute to the rising rate of crashes and distracted driving fatalities.

Save time by buying Mount Rainier passes online

Now you don’t have to wait in line — just print your pass and home and enjoy the majesty of the park.

Bonney Lake to take action on water rate increases

The sewer rate increase, however, looks to still be up for debate, and will be addressed at a later date in committee.

Black Diamond police get little chief, too

The Black Diamond Police Department honored Jack Reich as their Police Chief for a Day.

East Pierce hosting annual open house Sept. 29

Don’t miss out on the free, family fun activities and demonstrations, like tearing a car apart with the jaws of life.

Most Read