There was once a place on S Broadway in Bangor called Perry’s Famous For Clams. It was a biker, blue collar neighborhood “regulars” kind of place. On any given evening it was not unusual to have a cop swing through looking for someone and heading straight for the kitchen, or have the same three or four people sitting on the same stools nursing their light beers into the evening, each in his or her own private place. It was a comfortable place where everyone was comfortable with everyone else.

This was tested from time to time. One evening with the temperatures in the single numbers and three foot snow banks preempting most parking spaces we were there feasting on some of those famous clams with crumbs rather than batter – both were famous – and this rather portly woman, dressed in high heels, stockings, knee length dress, baubles of every kind and mink coat, sort of slithered off her stool and found an unoccupied booth in which to lay down and proceed to go to sleep. Nobody seemed to be that upset and clams were consumed in prodigious amounts along with enough beer to take the edge off a rather cold winter’s night.

After a while a taxi driver came in and the barman nodded toward the mink coat and all eyes turned temporarily toward a situation that promised, if nothing else, to be entertaining. With great amounts of prodding and levering and pleading in terms that led me to think this had happened before, the mink coat was coaxed out to the cab and hopefully to her warm bed somewhere in the Queen City. It was not unusual, as I looked around the room, to see smiles and lips moving in whispers, as was happening at my table as well. I mean TV couldn’t even get close to this.

Woefully, Perry’s Famous For Clams was bulldozed to make way for a huge parking lot and another Shaws High Priced grocery store. How much actual culture do we need to give up for more over priced, over packaged, over hyped processed food? And don’t forget the acres of smooth gray concrete.

Here’s my favorite Perry’s Famous For Clams story. Quite late one night after practicing for a play I was starring in ?, a few of us went out looking for a late night bite to eat. You know how it is. Nothing was open and then we thought of Perry’s. Of course, it was open. However, the kitchen was closed. No clams. We put on out best sorrowful faces and the guy shook his head falling for our little “act” saying that all he could do for us is a sandwich and all he had was bologna. And it’s white bread, he added. We all laughed. You ever had a bologna sandwich and a pint of ale? It could have been much worse, and in fact we enjoyed it. It was midnight in central Maine. We knew our options were limited.

When we called for the check the barman charged us only for the ale. We thanked him profusely and he smiled graciously and said for us to get out so he could close up.

Though it’s two hours away on a good night, It would be comforting to know Perry’s Famous For Clams was still there on a frosty winter’s night – with a bologna sandwich for back-up.

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