When we moved Mom into her new place, the management allowed me to spend the first two nights with her, making sure she was settled and didn't have trouble finding her way around the place. But no matter how much you love someone, spending a lot of time together in a small space can be exhausting.
On the second day, my brother came to the rescue. He suggested we let Mom go to the dining room herself and get acquainted with her new neighbors, while we went out to lunch. He brought me to Stockholm's, a little brew pub on State Street in downtown Geneva, Illinois.
The place was dark, old-fashioned, with a great old 1930's style back bar. Swedish and Danish flags were proudly displayed - reminding me of Geneva's Scandinavian heritage. Each summer, Geneva has a big street festival called Swedish Days. When we lived in this area, back when I was in grade school, Geneva was the town we'd come to on Saturdays, to see matinee movies at the small cinema, and where Mom would take me shopping for school clothes, at the Merra-Lee Shop. The cinema is now a restaurant, but Merra-Lee is still there.
Geneva is the county seat of Kane County, and Stockholm's is only a couple blocks from the courthouse. The lunch crowd looked like lawyers and local business people. The TV was on low, and the atmosphere was quiet, dark and restful.
They brew their own beer and ale at Stockholm's. We ordered a couple of pints of light golden ale called Aegir's ale, and some sandwiches.
I looked around. It seemed timeless. At the bar, the stools each had little brass nameplates on the back, for the "regulars."
Local barrooms aren't generally featured in the memories of schoolchildren, so I don't know whether Stockholm's was there when I was little, or if it was a new place crafted to look old. The wall painting of a Viking ship under full sail tugged a little at my memory banks - was it familiar? Had I seen it as a child, perhaps, from the sidewalk, or from a passing car?
No matter. We sipped our pints, and shared my french fries. Stockholm's was a fine place to spend a cold November afternoon, and catch up with one of the nicest people I know - my brother.