Barred: Crackerjacks Pub

When: Wednesday, 7:20pm

Crackerjacks (no apostrophe) looks like it has been there for years. I don’t know, it might have been (and I don’t want to look it up). I don’t remember it from my youth, though it’s entirely possible that it has been on this corner at the edge of Northwest Portland since the ‘70s, more like a hold-out year-after-year. Ok, I looked it up–it’s been there since 1982.

Along with the Lighthouse, this has become one of my favorite Portland dives, discovered in middle age. Strangers give me compliments. There are marionberry jello shots. Also, $4 beer and wine at happy hour, plus something called “krispy kritters.”

An illuminating conversation started unfurling on the outdoor patio, between what I eventually gathered was a brother and sister. The woman, with her back to me, dressed in many shades of army green with a hooded, non-puffy vest, and a tuft of gold-blonde hair with dark brown roots,.  appeared to be on the middle-age cusp so I paid particular attention to her for clues.  

As if on cue, she said, “when we’re old farts…”

The brother, bald with a gray beard, the de facto look for 75% of  men over 40 in the NW, countered, “I’m much more likely to die before you.“

“Part of being an adult is you care about your health,” said the sister, and I realized we were the only two not smoking at the mostly occupied picnic tables.

“Let’s be honest, I’m not going to have a baby.” Which I would rather have heard from the sister not the brother. Then, while lighting a cigarette, “I’m not trying to kill myself.”

“You’re not going to find a partner like that.”

“I’m not going to find a partner anyway.”

Age appropriate? There has been plenty of non-young women on several occasions. A woman by herself announced that she was 48, unprompted. Well, kind of prompted by the young woman sitting nearby who recognized all the ‘80s songs playing. “How old are you?” the 48-year-old asked. Almost 24.

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