Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Life Lived

Greetings Friends:

St. Patrick's Day has come and gone.  I ate the last of the corned beef and potatoes (not a big cabbage fan) and  the garb has been put away until next year.  I hope everyone had as much fun as I did and for those of you who braved "The Grand Parade," I hope you were able to stay warm!

After the parade, I made my way up to one of my favorite watering holes in town, Bley's Tap.   In fact, besides my Dad's place, (and that is a future post) it is only one of the few places I go on a semi-regular basis.  It is a throwback place.  In the words of my friend Jerry, "It's a joint!"  For those of you born prior to the Nixon administration, "joint" is a term of affection.  Simply put, it is a great place.

I stopped by to see a few friends and enjoy what was a gathering of Irish and friends of the Irish.  A grand time was had by all.  After a bit of time, I found myself in need of a trip to the bathroom and as you may have guessed, here is where the picture comes into this post.

In the bathroom, written high above the sink, is this dedication.  I have no idea who Dwight Kistler was, nor who is the author.  I have been going into Bley's for a few years and always noticed it.  However, for some reason, I decided to snap a picture of it and with the permission of Ross, the owner, have posted it here.

I should mention that it is possible that Mr. Kistler was no longer with us when Bley's opened.  Years ago, this establishment had another name and I recall being in it, "back in the day."  I do feel confident in saying that all the good things that were of the previous place are alive and well in Bley's today.  If Mr. Kistler could walk back into Bley's today, he would, I suspect, like what he found.

Mr. Kistler's obituary is not listed.   I did the obligatory Google search and came up with nothing.  However, I did come up with a bunch of stuff about another Dwight, as in Dwight D. Eisenhower, General of the Army and 34th President of the United States.  For many decades, they shared the same time on this earth.  Of course, one is world famous, with countless "things" named after him.  There have been dozens, if not hundreds of biographers of President Eisenhower.  Mr. Kistler, well... none that I am aware of.

And yet I would respectfully submit that Mr. Kistler is worthy of mention.  He is worthy of mention for someone (inspired by spirit or otherwise) wrote this testament to him.  (BTW, I am NOT encouraging any impromptu graffiti) He worked for a half a century at a skilled trade.  Unlike me who works almost always in an office with climate control and coffee on demand, I suspect Mr. Kistler was outside in all kinds of weather.  I can only assume, but based on 50 years, I have every reason to believe he took pride in his work.

Speaking of, I looked up what a brick mason does and here is what I found:

"Brick masons are construction professionals who work with brick and mortar to create a number of architectural enhancements to structures that are both functional as well as visually appealing. In some instances, a brick mason will also work with materials other than bricks, such as structural tiles, stone, and even prefabricated panels and facades."


My Grandparents were farmers, as were my parents, at least for a while.  Hard work and honest labor are things to value.  In a world where more and more of our "tools" are not from a work belt but a drop down menu and when a keyboard is our job site, it is good to recall those who do (and did) physical labor.  I am talking about the labor that drains you of sweat yet fills you with pride.  That causes your muscles to ache but your soul to smile.  

Here is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that sums it up for me:

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

I cannot prove it of course, but I will elect to believe that Mr. Kistler did his mason work with excellence.  I elect to believe that along with hard work he valued his family and his friends at this place.  I surmise he had a faith in God that gave him comfort.  He likely bought more rounds than he accepted, yet he accepted them with sincere thanks and a wide grin.  When Mr. Kistler passed, his friends, and I choose to believe there were and are many, raised a glass to his memory with a tear in their eye.

We should all be so lucky to be remembered for working any period of time at an honored skill.  To me, there is something good about remembered for hard work and loyalty.  They are things sadly lacking in this world, at least in abundance.  Mr. Kistler, from the evidence available, had both.  

Bley's Tap is located at 215 E 29th St, Davenport, IA 52803.  It is open Monday thru Saturday and some Sundays.   

Be well my friends,

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