Skip to main content

Old-Fashioned Taffie's

Living in the same community where you grew up comes with its own set of idiosyncrasies. An example of this is feeling pangs of sadness for the closing of a restaurant whose food, decor and service you weren't particularly fond of. Such is the effect that memory and place can have on us.

I remember going to Taffie's as a kid, sometime during the early-mid 1980s, mostly with my dad. Lewis seemed to know a lot of the clientele there, mostly blue collar types, and we'd often plunk down on some stools at the bar in the smoking section and he'd chat with them.

It was unusual to go on solo outings with my dad, so these trips to Taffie's are rather pronounced in memory. I can remember us going there one morning and learning that the Red Wheel restaurant had burned down. Other times, we'd see friendly Mr. Roberts there, father of a classmate of mine, and seemingly good acquaintance of my dad.

Sometimes mom came with us, and on those occasions we'd sit in the back of the restaurant, in the non-smoking section. There we'd order lunch or dinner, almost always something with meat, bread and gravy, and I'd sit, fascinated, looking at the vertical numbers on the wall flash whenever a table's order was ready.

Earlier I mentioned not being particularly fond of the restaurant, and this is true. I didn't care much for sitting in the smoking section with dad. And, with the smoking section being in the front area of the restaurant, getting to the non-smoking area entailed a few whiffs of smoke. Upon revisiting Taffie's as an adult, I discovered it had not changed in either decor or food.

Still, I'm saddened as I learn of Taffie's closing tomorrow. It's old school Champaign. I doubt it gained many new customers in recent years, so there's only an aging few of us who will remember it well. I imagine my dad's ghost visiting there every now and then, sidling-up to the bar for a spectral cigarette and chat with the other souls who used to frequent the place.


Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.