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

Burn ban in place for Pierce County

The weather may be getting colder, but burn bans have been called for multiple counties due to deteriorating air quality.

Enumclaw’s Van Hulse to compete in national music showcase

Erik Van Hulse, who also goes by his stage name Siboh Nisoh, has been working toward this big break for almost as long as he can remember.

Kiwanis honor four as Students of the Month

Members of the Buckley Kiwanis Club honored a trio of “Students of the Month” during an Nov. 16 gathering.

Pepper addresses ‘false’ recall charges in community meeting

The meeting, held at the Black Diamond library, was a chance for voters to have “an opportunity to hear from both sides before they decide to sign,” the recall petition, Pepper wrote in an announcement for the meeting.

Wilbanks wins close Buckley race

It took a month, but Luke Wilbanks finally knows he’ll be occupying a seat on the Buckley City Council.

Buckley Council race gets recount; results due Dec. 6

The closest general election outcome in Pierce County was found in Buckley, where a razor-thin difference in a City Council race forced a recount by the Pierce County Elections Department.

Enumclaw Council roster rapidly changing

A significant shake-up of the Enumclaw City Council is well under way. Soon to exit city government is Mayor Liz Reynolds, who opted against seeking another term after eight years in the city’s highest office. Already off the City Council is Jan Molinaro, who was elected to fill the mayoral post during the Nov. 7 general election and has stepped away from council.

Santa touring Bonney Lake, Sumner neighborhoods

Santa will once again be joining East Pierce Fire and Rescue around Bonney Lake, Sumner and surrounding communities to wish everyone happy holidays. He’s already toured Milton and Sumner, but there are still many more routes for him to complete before he heads back to the North Pole.

Most Read