First Call: The Mourning Shift at Thompson's Point of View, the Central District's Living Room

The Watering Hole: Thompson's Point of View, 2308 E. Union St. CENTRAL DISTRICTThe Atmosphere: For a Wednesday at 6 p.m., raucous and familial, with two darts games in progress (and enough trash-talk to make you think there were twice that many) and a mostly middle-aged crowd, all of whom seemed to know each other by first, last, and nickname.The Barkeep: Elma or Thelma. Couldn't quite nail that one down, for reasons that will soon become obvious.The Drink: Bacardi and Coke. But that was my choice. If Elma (we'll drop the "Th" for convenience' sake) had had her wits about her, it would have been a "Thompson's Special," the contents of which are still a mystery. But Elma did not have her wits. And for this no one can blame her.The Verdict: I moved out here six months ago to a place that, to get anywhere else in the city, requires a drive past the corner of 23rd and Union, the same block that not too long ago gave us a homicide at the now-closed Philadelphia Cheese Steak. And after a couple weeks passing by and always seeing the same three cop cars parked outside the bar with their lights on, I started calling it "Thompson's, Where Everyone Has a Differing Point of View."But the post-work crowd is all family. As Vernal Coleman put it, drinking in Thompson's is like drinking in "the Central District's living room." And unfortunately, Dad won't be coming home again."My man died yesterday morning," says Elma, scooping the yolks out of a hard-boiled egg. "He was 51. Way too young." This explains why she couldn't remember what went in Thompson's eponymous drink. And why there was a copy of a funeral notice on the bar back with "in loving memory of Carl Thompson Jr." written across the top.Just because the patriarch passed doesn't mean the party stopped. Two days away from burying her husband, Elma was still with-it enough to bust balls on a man everyone called "Fat Back.""I may be in mourning," she said, finally delivering a plate of those eggs, now deviled, "but I still gotta work."

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