Young men and women slid out of their booths and several people popped off their tall stools to shuffle southward, jockeying for a place to sit or stand in the “dance floor room.”
“Come on,” you could hear some young men say to their dates. “It’s time for Joey’s song.”
Moments earlier the band had blasted out rock tunes of the period and the dance floor had filled with couples and prospective couples.
But now it was quiet as Joey, daughter of the bar’s owners, stepped up to the microphone for her only singing performance of the night, or any night…
“Take the ribbon from my hair. Shake it loose and let it fall. Layin’ soft upon your skin, Like the shadows on the wall.”
The first words to Joey’s song, riveting the crowd with a voice as pure as any of the stars of the era. The once overpowering band now followed Joey’s sweet voice in a nearly hushed accompaniment, playing soulful slow country chords and not upstaging the voice of Joey or the lusty lyrics of Kris Kristofferson.
And she continued…
“Come and lay down by my side, ‘Til the early mornin’ light. All I’m takin’ is your time. Help me make it through the night.”
Young ladies cuddled closer as the song went along. Young men hugged harder. Strangers’ eyes met across the room and Joey’s voice and Kris’ words “broke the ice” for some of the shy patrons.
We knew her as Joey Wise back then, as beautiful a person inside as her angelic vocal would indicate, daughter of Jim and Marian and manager of the establishment known as the Mini Bar, formerly the Steakhouse.
Many years have passed since the “hey day” of the Mini Bar, but the memories created there endure solidly in the minds of those who were fortunate enough to have been a part of it.
It was the dance and meeting place for a generation or more of young adults from Greenfield and several surrounding counties. If the old place could talk, there would be thousands of stories to be told. Joey’s song is just one of them.