Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Sad Bit of Luck

Adelaide playing with the Irish Band

The low sun shown through the large windows warming the room as the local Irish band  played a few feet away. Before me lay a culinary wonder inaptly called a Stuffed Sriracha Blue Cheeseburger sided with peppered fries and barbeque sauce. Adelaide was playing her fiddle with the band; she had joined them only a few weeks prior and was thoroughly enjoying the experience of playing in a group. My mind wandered to all the happy times I had spent in one of these stuffed leather chairs gazing out these windows at the harbor watching the fishing fleet come and go. The memories could not shake me from my sadness, for this was to be my last Stuffed Sriracha Blue Cheeseburger, my last Guinness at an Irish Pub in Ketchikan. The building had been sold and Willie was being evicted, the new owner wanted to replace O'Brien's Pub and Eatery with another coffee shop. Gazing at the faces of those gathered it was apparent that I was not the only one here paying my last respects to one of Ketchikan's finest gathering spots. It left me wondering if I would ever darken these doors again.
Katie and Anna
So many memories this past year are tied up in this little place. Date nights when Peter and I would come to share our dreams of the future and talk of the far away places we longed to visit. Other times we'd walk in stressed from a problem that needed discussed & walk out with the solutions written on a napkin. The afternoon we took Elaine out for her birthday & Willie put on the music from Riverdance for her to dance to and everyone clapped when she finished. Or the evening we kidnapped my friend Cammy and brought her here with us. The time spent with the Bowi Band from Seattle who graciously spent time playing for the kids and including them in the show. We always left happy, thankful to have a place to spend an evening together... except today.

At least we got a glass!
Last week found us preparing for or participating in some of the many activities surrounding St. Patrick's Day... surrounding O'Briens Pub. Two years prior Willie had decided that Ketchikan needed a St. Patty's Day parade, when filling out the paper work for the parade he'd hoped that a few folks would show up and put down fifty in the blank marked "number of participants". When the day arrived he was taken back by the turnout; hundreds had shown up to help him celebrate the Irish holiday. I think one of the police officers summed it up best when he turned to Willie and said with a chuckle, "I think there is a few more than fifty people here." The parade was to start downtown and travel past the pub a few blocks to a local grocery store, but nobody made it past the pub; the parade was over where it had begun in the heart of one Willie O'Brien, he had poured his heart into this day and he had been rewarded in kind. The band played, the sun shone, and the people were happy. Yet all of that feels so distant now!

Willie with Adelaide and Molly
Staring at the cars passing out front my mind had so many unanswered questions: would there even be a St. Patty's Day parade next year? What would really be the point of having one with no Irish Pub to end at? Why did the new owner honestly think we needed another same old same old when he had a successful business already in place he could have just renewed a lease with? Where were Peter and I going to go now for dates? The Irish band had finished and Adelaide was putting away her violin; it was time to go. Adelaide and I hugged Willie and thanked him for all the good times and made our way to the door. Looking back as we left I knew that I would probably never sit in one of my favorite chairs again, even if the new restaurant was to keep them.

Good bye O'Brien's Pub and Eatery 2012-2014


1 comment:

  1. That is a bit sad. Great to hear about Addie :) Great job!
    The world is changing so fast though.......