As ‘bar flies’ go, our group is not your ordinary ‘flies’. Going out for a beer, or two, every five or six weeks is not what bonafide ‘flies’ do. But, when the time rolls around for us to have a night out and ‘howl at the moon’, there’s no limit to our enthusiasm, ‘flies’ or not. And Caverly’s Irish Pub, a corner bar in Rochester’s ‘Southwedge’, is our favorite.
The real ‘bar flies’ already had their elbows ‘dug’ in and ‘locked’ onto the bar when we arrived, guffawing the evening away with idle chatter, each beer bringing more guffaws and louder chatter. Not our ‘cup of tea’, we’re here for some sophisticated and sober conversation. Believe me!
The five of us walked our beers to the round table by the screened front door, a spot that might offer a rare breeze on a humid July evening, and allow us to greet the ‘bar dog’ when it ambled in, and it always did.
As is customary, our evening began with a toast to new and lasting friendships. Coincidentally, a new friend, another neighbor, joined us this evening, passing our simple standards of being retired and looking for idle conversation while enjoying a beer with friends.
Friendship was our theme tonight, as we quaffed beers and recalled what Bruce Springsteen coined, ‘the glory days’ of working, hanging out and growing up with others our age whom we called our best friends. And when ‘old men’ talk about those times, the eyes light up, the voices come alive, and the enthusiasm needle moves off the charts. Tonight was no exception.
As a kid laboring in Connecticut tobacco fields, or a farmboy building a speedboat in a cellar of his New York farmhouse, or a band of boys running the streets of a coal mining town in eastern Pennsylvania, our stories carried us back to a simpler time. The names weren’t recalled easily and the smiles belied the hardships of those days, but as it always does, our memory filter remembers those earlier times with buddies as the best of times. Tobacco still grows in Connecticut, the boat sank, was salvaged, then disappeared with time, and the boys of eastern Pennsylvania abandoned the hard life streets of coal towns for greener pastures.
The Caverly barmaid surprised us with a serving of blueberry scones while feigning regret that there wasn’t a bachelor among our good looking group. Nevertheless, we soaked up the flatter willingly and washed down the scones with the last of our beer, before strolling to the car, laughing that it took 18 ‘beer nights’ before someone hit on us. Is that a record of sorts?
Outside, some motorcyclists volunteered their bikes for a photo shot but we declined, politely, of course, and cautioned them about the barmaid. But who knows, maybe they’re interested. It’ll make a fine story one day, when they’re having their own ‘glory days’ conversation…
“There is only one thing better then making a new friend, And that’s keeping an old one” Elmer G Leterman