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I can't remember the year, probably 1987 or 1988, but one of those Thursday nights at Capt. White's, I had a brief, fleeting moment of fame. Roustabout was playing that night, and Chris Romaine remembered that it was a special occasion, so he announced it from the stage -- "Friends, I have an important announcement to make. Tonight is Dave Shombert's birthday". As usual, everyone was socializing and talking while he was announcing it, so it was a LITTLE hard to hear clearly, but most people heard my name (or at least thought they did). Next, of course, the band played and everyone sang "Happy Birthday", and more than a few came over to where I was standing to wish me well. One of them was Patsy, who had known me as a familiar face at the Clog Palace for the last couple of years. She wished me happy birthday and gave me a hug. As she turned to leave, she said, "I have all your records".
I thought I must have misunderstood, so I asked her to repeat it. '"Yes, I have all your records", she confirmed. She must have deduced, from my uncomprehending slack-jawed stare, that something was missing from the conversation. "Don't you have a lot of records?", she asked. "Well, yeah, a couple hundred. They're in my living room", I replied. Then it was her turn to look confused. "What's your last name again?", she asked
"Shombert", I said. "Dave Shombert"
"OH!", she exclaimed. "I thought he said you were David Bromberg". Then she smiled and walked away. I didn't have the heart to tell her I couldn't play the guitar at all.
One of the Captain White's waitresses (I forget her name, but she was middle-aged, friendly, and - umm - substantial) had a funny quirk. I lost count of the number of times I saw this happen: Chris Romaine was fond of Dos Equis beer at the time and, when he would order one, she would always bring two. I told him he should order "Un Eq", but I don't think he ever tried that. Of course, before long, he'd be ready for another.
"Bring me ONE Dos Equis"
"Sure, hon, Dos Equis"
A few minutes later, two more would appear on the table. It's a testament to Chris' generous nature that he never really objected to this, he would always just give the second one to someone else. Usually me.
Probably only a couple of people know this, but the period during which I frequented the Clog Palace was a difficult time in my life. I was struggling with a couple things that were pretty complicated. But I'd been playing banjo for awhile, had befriended Craig Johnson and Chris and Lars, and I knew most of the other regulars to at least some extent. I had fallen in love with old time music, and I felt at home at the Clog Palace. I felt welcome. Those Thursday nights became the equivalent of a support group for me. Some of the friendships endure to this day, and I treasure them all the more because of how much they helped me when I really needed it.
Memories. Julie wants memories of the Clog Palace and its days of glory. That would be memories of people, for the most part. Yeah, events too, music and dance events and all that went with them. But I'll wager that for most of us, in the end, the lasting memories are of people. Individuals. People who we're glad we crossed paths with on planet Earth.
Rosemary Seim. Rest in peace.
February 22, 2018