We owned the Corner Tavern from 1968 to 1975. We managed it for one year before that, 1967, with the option to buy. Eight years. Doesn’t seem like a very long time but, believe me, eight years was long enough. It was a lot of work and at times, a lot of fun. The first year was probably the hardest. When we took over the bar in 1967 it was your typical small farming community bar. Women rarely came in. It was a place for the farmers to gather during the day to talk about farming, weather and, though they wouldn’t admit it, to discuss the local gossip. Evenings, it was the place for the younger town men and farmers to come for a game or two of cards or a game of pool or to just talk about all the same thing the older fellows talked about during the day. So, that was the first thing we wanted to change. The first thing we did was have a Mountain Oyster Fry. We went through the phonebook and sent postcards to all the couples that we knew who would go into a bar, but not the bar in town, telling them that we were going to have a fry. Hubby went to the nearby pork plant and bought a hundred pounds of Mountain Oysters. In case some of you out there don’t know what a Mountain Oyster is, they are hog nuts. He picked them up on Wednesday afternoon, soaked them in the bathtub to thaw them (yes, I sanitized the tub before and after) and that evening I sliced a hundred pounds of those things. On Thursday afternoon, I fried the Mountain Oysters, filling two big electric roasters. We never charged. But we did have a “donate” to the cook jar. Sometimes a friend would help but usually it was just me and three little kids. We always did well on the beverage sales making enough to pay for the Mountain Oysters and then some. Did this for almost 4 years, pregnant part of one those years, and with no AC in the summer. This was a weekly every Thursday night event. We got very good crowds. People would come from surrounding towns. Mountain Oysters were a big thing back then. But they got to be too expensive to make it worth it and we decided it was time to stop the fries. And you know what? I wasn’t too upset about that. The Mountain Oyster Fries did accomplish what we had hoped for, a bar where women felt welcome. We even built a good morning coffee hour with both men and women coming in for their morning coffee. Hubby served homemade cinnamon rolls or crème puffs or chocolate chip cookies depending on what I made. I was very busy on the home front and hubby was very busy on the bar front spending very long days, from 8 a.m. to at least 1 a.m. most days. He did manage to find bartenders for a two or three hours every afternoon so we could have some family time. On very busy nights, I would hire a sitter and help tend bar. After eight years of this pace, and the girls starting to get involved in sports and other school activities, and bartenders hard to find, we sold the place in 1975. It was a period in our lives with ups and downs. Lots of parties and long nights. Bar ownership is definitely for the young.
Have a good week,