Ode to a Friend

Dear Priscilla,

cbkSo I drove by the Euclid Tavern the other day.  It has truly been decades since I even thought of that place, but when I did I was instantly carried back to a certain Sunday in 1995.

Back then, Mark didn’t know us very well and he erroneously gave us his tickets to a Sunday Performance of the Cleveland Orchestra. When he so graciously handed them over he told us about the regulars that he had known for years, that he only saw on concert days.  He knew their intimate mid-concert sleepy noises, he knew their proclivity for splayed legs, but he didn’t know their names.  He was so proud of his occasional participation in this elite social circle.

You and I, however, were on a great adventure that day.  With abject disregard for socially acceptable behavior in the confines of the great concert hall known as Severance, we headed out in our leathers (I do believe yours was borrowed), jeans and heels to the nearest bus stop.  Smiling at strangers and chatting with vagrants we were a bubbly pair waiting for the #5. Waiting, waiting and waiting – at least an hour until some kind soul informed us that the bus didn’t run on Sunday. So we walked, and walked and found more friendly faces to smile at.  By the time we made it down Murray Hill we were parched.

Having just finished law school, I of course knew the best dive bars in the area.  The Euc was the closest, so cheap beer it was.  Upon entering on that sunny Sunday afternoon, we knew we had found “our place”.  Our feet peeled off the floor with a tug at each step and that sour hoppy smell of last night’s party assaulted our noses with a familiar odor reminiscent of college days.  The light was dim, the music was loud and the sunlight streaming through the open door carried in the promise of redemption.  We were the only people there at the time and the biker-girl bartender (generously, yet arguably tastefully tatted up) slammed a couple of beers on the bar. And so we were off to solve the problems within ourselves and to share our adventures with the world. (Do you still have our notes on napkins?) It was 1995 when we first decided to document our adventures.  It’s now 2015.

When I passed by the Euc the other day I noticed it had a bright and shiny new neon sign.  However, when I looked inside it was still the dingy, poorly lit space with uneven, sticky floors and I swear I smelled a Moosehead.

I was instantly struck with the thought that the Euclid Tavern stands as the perfect metaphor for our lives.  It’s been there forever – and yes dear Priscilla, we have known each other long enough to admit that we have been together forever.  We too have shiny new signs.  We have reinvented ourselves many times over the decades.  Not always in a good way, but always with a shiny new sign. And we remain the same inside: dark, craggy and sometimes stinky but always with that ray of sunshine we call redemption, or hope, or change, or whatever is needed that day.

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