Ozark Daze: Remembering Dewey’s: Part 2

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Ray Speckman

Editor’s Note: Ray Speckman, co-owner of Emme’s Attic in Versailles, enjoys Lake Area history. The first Wednesday of every month, he will deliver some fun facts, unique stories and interesting information about historic places, occurrences and anecdotes relating to the Lake of the Ozarks and mid-Missouri. Enjoy this new addition and guest column in The Lake Today. This is the second part of a two-part series on the history of the Dewey’s Toys for Kids at Lake of the Ozarks. Other than the principals of Dewey’s, Speckman is omitting names of specific people who he writes about in this little piece. He fears that he will forget someone of importance and there were so many. Therefore excuse the non-referencing of names, Speckman said.

Where today the huge Dierberg store is rising, Dewey moved his bar.

I truly don’t know the reason for his move, never asked and don’t recall ever being told. I think it could have occurred while I was living in Springfield where Marti and I had moved to be close to doctors for her cancer treatments. After her death I returned to the Lake and there was Dewey’s Too. At any rate he moved from the rock fraternal building where Seebold now is to new digs in a strip shopping center is which is now razed and new rises.

Dewey’s was a place where everyone was equal and those who felt differently about themselves felt uncomfortable.

There were no pretenses. The patrons, from all walks of life, had a common denominator, an indescribable brotherhood. You either hat ‘it’ or you didn’t.

The crew at Dewey’s new joint was not limited to locals. There were those from other places who vacationed or had places at the Lake. One by one they joined the informal crew.

There were no meetings and no scheduled times for appearing. Occasionally as the years past, one by one infirmities developed and stays in the hospital were

One day I was having a morning libation, sitting with Dewey at one end of the L-shaped bar. There were other members at the opposite end of the bar, maybe five stools away.

“Dewey,” I said, “I think I will stop coming in here any more.”

“Why?” asked the astonished Dewey.

“Dewey,” I responded, “things have just changed in here. When I first sat at your bar with the other guys and talked we talked about women, NASCAR, gossip about the lake people and who’s doing what to whom.”

“So?”

“Well, listen to the guys down there, now all they talk about is their pensions, interest rates and what’s ailing one or all of them. Things have changed.”

Typical Dewey, he just smiled.

There seemed to be a common thread running through all of the crew that stopped by Dewey’s. Most stopped by during the morning or early afternoon, downed a few, visited and most of us went home (some were single like me, others married or had a significant other) and took a daytime nap.

Hardly ever did a female venture in, but if they did they were certainly welcome.

One time when I was talking with Dewey about being single and a widower he said I should visit his joint during the night when sometimes he had a band and females were always present, saying to me, “Ray, in case you don’t know it, life doesn’t stop when the sun goes down in the evening.”

Then there was this fellow that was a character.

For those of you who frequent Cheers type joints like Deweys, you know the kind. He is one of those fellows who comes in, plops himself on a bar stool and tells of his accomplishments, travels and conquests to everyone but no one in particular. He is the kind that will clear out a bar in a hurry.

One morning I was the only patron in the bar and was sitting and talking with Dewey. This obnoxious fellow drove up and parked outside. We both saw him.

“Oh God,” said Dewey.

“Damn,” I responded, “I am leaving.”

“Don’t go,” said Dewey, “I don’t want to be here by myself and listen to the guy.”

“You have to stay,” I said, “you own the joint. See you later.”

I hustled out the door meeting Mr. Obnoxious on the way in who didn’t speak although we had been at the same bar several times previously.

An aftermath to Mr. Obnoxious occurred when I lived in Columbia. I was in the Black and Gold, also a Dewey’s/Cheers type place in Columbia. He stopped by there maybe three times when I was there. Each time he gave no sign of ever seeing or putting together that we had been at the lake at the same time.

Of course when he showed up, together with most of the other patrons, we cleared out of the Black and Gold.

Later, still in Columbia, I was sitting in a restaurant at the bar having lunch one day and Mr. Obnoxious came in and sat beside me on a stool. I was about finished eating. He tried to strike up a conversation.

“I guess you are retired,” he said.

“Well, sort of,” I said.

“Oh you still work?”

“Yes, I still do a bit of what I did a lot of before.”

“What do you do?”

“I produce amateur adult videos.”

“Really?”

“Yes,” as I continued to finish my lunch.

“Where do you find the people?” He had a gleam in his eye.

“Oh, I have no trouble, I have a list a mile long.”

“WOW.”

He jumped off his bar stool and headed to the bathroom. The bartender who had heard the conversation was laughing uncontrollable.

I left and never saw the guy again.

I was living in Columbia when Dewey’s Too closed. I don’t know why.

The only thing I know is that Dewey’s remains etched fondly in my memory bank.

Ray Speckman will always ponder how many coins and even bills Dewey retrieved from the urinal in the men’s room at Dewey’s and can be found at rayspeckman@emmesannex.com.

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