CREEDS – A dollar still goes pretty far at Monk’s Place – on the wall, over the bar, up the posts, even on the ceiling.
It’s tradition here to write a message on a dollar bill and tape it up for all to see. A patron who saw the practice elsewhere started it up here a few years back.
“The first one was – 8/8/11,” said John Kern, 69, the owner of Monk’s Place. He found the bill and read the date. It was on a column near the grill. “Rick Harrell. He’s the husband of the manager. You can call him the better half.”
That started something – messages, cartoons, announcements of love, notes memorializing past visits, boastfulness about that time somebody got a limo.
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Kern said he heard the tradition was born elsewhere when a patron lacked money to cover his tab, so other regulars left bills behind for him. At Monk’s Place, the tradition sometimes includes taping up twenties, foreign currency, even used race tickets.
“It’s just something the customers do,” Kern said.
He has a dollar up, too: “Best of luck to everybody in here. Drive home safe.”
Some of messages keep a respectful distance from the Father of America’s face. Others scrawl clear across his mug. A very few messengers, as the comedians might put it, worked a bit “blue.”
The funniest one?
“It had to be taken down,” said Kris Witt, who works at Monk’s Place, during another visit.
You’ll have to use your imagination because, if second-hand descriptions of its content are accurate, the artist on that one certainly did.
“It’s still in here somewhere,” Witt said. “We turned it around.”
She has a dollar here that carries her own messages and symbols – four pink cherries, her name and her son’s name.
“Someone in here a few years ago started calling me Cherry, and it stuck.”
Again, Monk’s Place is not the only one to do this sort of thing. It seems to be all the rage in Florida.
In the Keys, one spot is rumored to have thousands of dollars on the walls and ceilings. At another place in the Keys, thousands are donated to charity after they fall of the wall, according to a report by Examiner.com.
McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola, Fla., is rumored to have hundreds of thousands of dollars – maybe even $1 million.
In St. Helena Island, S.C., a tavern gave some of the bills on their wall to fund a trip by veterans to memorials in Washington, D.C., according to a local news report.
At Monk’s Place, Ray McClintock, 55, said he’s been to spots all over the world where bills adorn walls and ceilings, and he’s left his mark at those places, too.
He suggested why people do this sort of thing.
“Probably just to leave a little piece of themselves behind, I guess.”
McClintock, who works in aviation, placed another dollar on the wall at Monk’s Place during a recent visit.
“I said hi to Ashley and thanks for the service,” he said.
“He wrote that he loves me and I’m the greatest ever,” said Ashley Johnson, a 29-year-old Creeds resident, from behind the counter.
“I wrote that on the back so no one can see it,” McClintock said, smiling.
Johnson has worked at Monk’s place, off and on, for 11 years. She has her own bills posted here.
“Three,” she said, laughing. “It’s the saga of boyfriends.”
Her boyfriend, Travis Steates, 38, has a bill in his name up now. This time, it may be Johnson’s lucky dollar.
“We’re going to get married and have babies,” she said.
Pungo’s Herb Smith, 50, drew intently on two dollar bills at a table.
He wrote the name of his children on one bill and the name of his business on another.
At the same table, Scott Robert, 50, also decorated a bill – but not with Smith’s seeming mission to entirely hide George Washington.
“Herb’s still drawing on his,” Robert said. “He won’t be done until I’m ready to go.”
“It’s too plain,” Smith said. “I’m trying to brighten it.”
Robert checked his watch.
“Yeah, I know,” Smith said. “I’m trying to finish up my dollar real quick.”
“You’re not going to leave any green on there,” Robert said. “Are you?”
Smith kept at it.
“I don’t want anyone to be able to spend it,” he said.