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Rosie's Bar and Grill

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Rosie's Bar and Grill

Postby ericv » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:43 pm

A recent post alerting the troll fleet to the positive changes occurring in Pelican related to our industry sparked my memory of a few happenings that occurred at Rosie's Bar and Grill.

There is a special place in this universe for Rose Miller, owner and operator of an iconic bar that is by no means a place for the faint-of-heart. In my travels before and after my times at her establishment, I have never found it's equal. She knows how hard folks work at sea and the docks and she knows that there is need for such a place as hers to blow off steam, have a cold one, drop your drawers or just sit and watch - it is all good.

For those many readers who have been there themselves, this is all old news and many of you have far more to share than maybe willing. For those of you who have never been to Rosie's, it is a place to go before the times and ownership changes.

I recall hearing of the place while working on a remote site some 60 miles NE of Ketchikan in the early 80's far far away from Pelican. Maybe it was the crew member off a longliner who's sweatshirt all ragged and torn had the infamous "Take your pants off, lets have a party!!" slogan across the back. Or the sweet nubile young lady who crewed on a crabber who spoke of the "contests" that took place during the Fourth of July. Needless to say, the name and place stuck in my mind.

Fast forward to 1987 while living in Hoonah. My buddy Mike clued me in on such events. Having been there himself numerous times he spoke of how Rosie MC'd and orchestrated the contests that would surely cause a Bible Thumper to stroke out (no pun intended). Her two main annual events to celebrate the Fourth of July were the "Little Dick Contest" and the "Big Tit Contest". One can certainly say Rosie was ahead of her time in providing equal opportunity experiences. Apparently Mike spent the better part of a day sitting in a galvanized bait tub full of ice cubes and water out front of her establishment while nursing a "bew feers" trying to shrivel his lower unit down to be a contender for the evening event. To his chagrin, Rosie stopped by and asked to see what he had. He stood up and upon close inspection, Rosie stated he likely would not be the winner. Most guys would breathe a sigh of relief at such news - not Mike, back into the ice water he sat, determined as ever. She asked another guy who was standing nearby to show her the goods of which he apparently did according to my friend Mike. He said Rosie looked at the guys package and stated something like "you have no chance, come see me later".

So July of "88 saw myself and 4 friends flying in to Pelican from Hoonah in a small and packed chartered Cessana 182 on floats simply to enjoy (not partake) in these festivities. As we zoomed down Phonograph Creek, Pelican came in to view, a brilliant sunny day on July 3rd. Much of the troll fleet was out as the opener was still fresh and raw but even still the place was abuzz (as in people and joints) of activity. The tide book had been consulted and we opted to camp out under the school situated on piling as it was dry, private and not tidal during that period. We stashed our gear and promptly lit out for Rosie's. I had seen the place from afar while unloading, taking on ice and fuel but never quite having the time to stroll in. The site was a bit hard to describe upon entering, I mean that in a good way.

First off, the boardwalk was alive with all types and ages of folks and critters and we could have vectored in to Rosie's simply by the sound itself if blind. Rock music of epic taste was careening out of the speakers hung about the place. The ceiling was 100% covered in signed dollar bills. Many of these were tea stained due to the decades of smoke haze. The walls and nearly every available surface had names carved or printed of people and boats, many dating back for considerable years. The bar itself was huge and well stocked with the ladies tending built well physically and mentally for the task at hand, meaning they were of good rugged beauty that kept a guy thinking of his possible chances at a close encounter of the fur kind. Even at Noon, the place was well packed.

"Welcome to Rosie's!" we heard a voice say, I turned to see this women with dark hair, big glasses and a HUGE button on her chest that said "Quit Staring At My Tits". It was a catch 22 situation as the button sat squarely between a set of enormous boobs that were stretching the low cut fabric that would have required scuba gear to explore. Later that night one of the barmaids stated Rosie's boobs always arrive several seconds before she does. Rosie smiled a smile of knowing, introduced herself, shook our hand and was genuinely interested in who we were and where we were from. She invited us to grab the available booth up a few steps with "a good view of the action" as she stated. She told us "there is no fighting or fucking allowed - if I see it". I took note of the bare cement floor with drain caps that would come in to play later.

The 5 of us settled in, the bottles of beer kept a coming and evening found it's way into the mayham. We took turns in small groups (as to keep our table secure) to venture up the dump road to fire off some hops of a different source and balance the chemistry within our bodies - the night was young and we knew we had to pace ourselves. At that era in my life I rolled my own cigarettes which frequently caused a few glances. While at our table a fisherman stumbled up to our table and wanted to partake in my smoke, it seemed he thought it was other than tobacco. I assured him it was good grade tobacco, he was not convinced so I rolled a fatty for him and off he went outside to enjoy. He returned a bit later to proclaim that it was "Good Shit" and said "Here, see if you can roll this!" as he plunked down a red haired, sticky and crystalized bud. Well always being one for a challenge I went to work, gathered a small crowd in the process and handed him back a very pregnant Zig Zag of which he promptly place in his mouth, chewed, swallowed paper and all with a beer chaser, said "Thanks" and staggered off.

Things evolved into semi-uncontrolled chaos. We observed a couple sitting at the bar that found the women screaming at her non-attentive partner which resulted in a quick back hand sending her off her stool. She'd get up shrieking (we think, couldn't hear a damn thing at that point as the band had kicked in) and give him a hard kick to the shin. This went on for the whole night and it was one of dozens of microcosms that were in effect and often went unnoticed. My buddy Jim returned from the john a bit later, eye's the size of dinner plates. We chided him on what he'd seen in there. His stated he had just finished his whiz when he turned and had a Bowie knife held horizontal at his nose with a substantial line of coke running down it. It was the same fellow who was swatting his gal off the stool all the time, asked him "You want some??" Jim as us, did not partake in that stuff and politely refused. Jim did say the guy was polite and had the dull side facing his nose for proper etiquette purposes.

Rosie's Bar and Grill was reaching near climax, it was packed to the gills and we literally had to yell at each other across our small table to be heard. In a corner booth packed tight there was a striking blond women of college age with a short skirt that was singing her lungs out and bouncing up and down on the lap of the dude she was with in time with the music the band was playing. Our friend Ed noticed from his angle that the guys pants and underwear were actually down by his knees. Well after all, Rosie's top slogan on all here souvenir's were "Take your pants off!!"

The barmaids were slammed with orders and it got to be where one had to wedge themselves towards to bar for a refill and wait or steal. The bell had been rung so many times everyone lost count and "volunteers" were trying their best to distribute the wet goods to all. In the process their makeshift trays would get pilfered of the beers before making their destination. I made it to the bar and actually found a vacant bar stool. Things were a bit fuzzy and I managed to roll a smoke and fired it off. It occurred to me to rest my head awhile until it was my turn to be served. I was awoken by a big guy who was shaking the crap out of me, it seemed I had just put my head down a few seconds. He screamed in my ear "Your burning your fucking hand with your cigarette!!" True as it was, I was indeed attempting to burn a hole through the webbing between my thumb and forefinger. I knew it was time to switch off of the liquids and stay with the "hops" in their natural state.

Somebody fired off an airhorn until it ran out of gas and everything including the band shut up. A barmaid climbed atop the bar, her head mere inches below the stained dollar bills and announced it was time for the "Little Dick" contest to commence. This was met by raucous response as candidates wormed (sorry, bad pun) their way to step up onto the bar. What the several guy contestants lacked in size of their peckers they gained in the size of their balls to go forward with such an event. It goes without saying that the chemicals and liquid on board for all of them certainly helped. So Rosie appears and space was given to her. She ordered each guy up on the bar to drop their drawers and show us what they had - or for better words - didn't have. At this point I am glad my memory of specific details are scant. Rosie took a great deal of time inspecting both visually and with deft fingers what was to be the winner. With each guy, goods at her fingertips, she'd turn to the crowd for a voice opinion. In the end, some poor guy was given the official title as to have won the 1988 Little Dick Contest. Not sure if it earned him any rewards later in the night other than sympathy.

After the event, the un-attentive man on the stool and his women who he kept back handing off her chain got a bit more carried away. Rosie stormed into the fray and straightened both of their shits right out. She ordered them to hug and make up or get the hell out. For the rest of the waning hours of the night, they were acting like newlyweds. Rosie was the law at all times and no matter how big or aggressive anybody was, they stopped immediately if they knew what was good for them.

We discovered the real reason Pelican has boardwalk railings that are well above waist height. Our trek that night or dawn, which ever it was, back to our abode under the school was a journey the did not go straight. Somehow the 5 of us managed to cover a lot more board walk than when we had headed inbound. Our friend Stan managed to steer his partners back to our site. I awoke in my sleeping bag, still intact, no fluid leaks or spills noted. The sun shone out on the beach grass which needed a mowing much like my tongue. A Raven was scolding the hell out of us. I noted that my friend Stan was using a smooth rock the size of pregnant football as a pillow. I figured it was best not to disrupt his sleep. I made my way to a place that had showers and slowly came back to running on 4 of 8 cylinders. I ran into our partner Ed who's eyes were beet red due to many things including failure to remove his hard contacts last night. He and I figured food would be good and wandered towards Rosie's. The door was open and no music was on, it had just a handful of folks plus the barmaids who looked completely done in from the events last night. We took our spot in our booth, as the barmaids stacked all the floor level chairs above ground. A guy dragged in a true fire hose with official nozzle to the back area by the bathrooms and turned on the flow. This was why the floor was cement. In mere minutes he hosed out God knows what out onto the boardwalk and onto the beach. I think every type of fluid that exists in the human body was in some quantity in that slurry. One of the barmaids asked what we'd like to drink, and yes coffee was available in huge quantities. She and the two other barmaids offered to cook up a few omelettes for us folks who were inside. When the nice barmaid brought our food, Ed and I gave her $20 each simply because of her kindness and her hard work last night. Several of her blouse buttons where missing which in turn caused a pleasant looking breast to leap out from hiding as she reached across our table to fetch the ketchup bottle. It actually caused Ed and I to temporarily lose sight of each other. She simply said "oops", tucked the freedom seeking beast back in and smiled as she headed back to the kitchen. Ed looked at me with his bloodshot eyes, smiled, and through our steaming cups of coffee simply said. "God I love this place."

So it was truly July 4th. The town and boardwalk came alive, the dead rose and some did the Hair of the Dog routine with the booze to heal the pain. We all opted out of the liquids that day other than soda, water and coffee. The "hops" and Zig Zag papers saw overtime and did their medicinal magic. The parade was great and Pelican really showed it's colors and spirit. We walked around and enjoyed all the people and activities, even the harbor was filling up with a new and fresh batch of mayhammers.

That night we still kept our booth, continued to stay away from the liquid intoxicants and just enjoy the scene. After all, tonight was the "Big Tit" contest - maybe that explained why the harbor was filling up. It was essentially a repeat of the previous night with many new faces and several returnees. Things cranked up and Rosie was in perfect form, moving from table to table encouraging people to take their pants off and party - which some indeed did with much gusto.
The bell was rung many times and the beers that made way to our table were passed on to those in need. We stuck to smoke and water. Soon again an airhorn cut through the fog of wild mayham. It was time for the much awaited contest. The contestants each had a sheer type t-shirt on. The ladies lined themselves up atop the bar to a noise of X-Y chromosome testosterone that was deafening. They danced and jiggled to the blasting band music, hips swinging in rhythm to the tunes. Rosie ordered one of the reliable guys to set forth the pitchers of water that had ample ice cubes floating about. She hollered for everyone to clear the bar of cigarettes or anything they did not want to get wet. The luck man in turn climbed up on the bar and stood behind each women contestant and had the honor of pouring the cold icy mix right down Mammary Lane. This in turn caused things to get quite nipplish on the women's chest as she took off her wet t-shirt to howl of the crowd. Rosie did not use her deft fingers here, she simply pointed to each set of mountains and gauged the results based on noise and Richter Scale readings. It was priceless fun and everyone was all smiles with the ladies all electing to remain topless for the night regardless if they had won the event. I do not know what all transpired later that night. The ratio of men to women ran very heavy in the women's favor. I suspect there was some good times to be had.

We retired at the closing of the bar, the 24hrs free of alcohol had been the right choice and we navigated a straight and uneventful course back to our spot under school. Dawn broke on July 5th and soon our chartered float plane came in and picked us up for the quick over the hill trip back home to Hoonah.

It has been many years ago but the memories are fresh. I know several of you have had similar episodes at Rosie's as well. I have a profound respect and admiration for her as she moves into her sunset years. She always gives to her community of Pelican and even won the hearts of those capable of shutting her down. She is a women that understands 100% what it is like to work hard, be it a man or women and to know that puritan ways simply add to more problems. In her mind, it did not have to be sensual, just consensual. There may likely never be a person or place such as Rosie's Bar and Grill. I just hope she takes the time to write her story in full details. It can be used as a future roadmap for those seeking to achieve the full aspects of life.

Calm winds and full holds to you all.
Eric Van Cise - Sitka, Alaska F/V Valkyrie (soon to be)
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