“To our good health and friendship!”
We clinked the frothy pints of our favorite brews, IPAs and Guinness, and began another evening of general conversation, fellowship and beer, a couple of rounds if we’re lucky.
Our last experience was good enough to make another run to Caverly’s Irish Pub in the Southwedge neighborhood of Rochester, NY for a post-mortem discussion of our uniquely American system of electing a President, the ‘electoral college’.
But first, as usual, our pithy conversation commenced with a mixed bag of topics: living with brown bears (a Russian family actually domiciles a bear in its home); turkeys (yes, they can fly); and, cars (the environmentalist among us is getting a Chevy Volt…I want a ride).
Then, a bit surprisingly, came the interruption…
“Pardon me, fellas, ever see one of these?”
The stranger at the adjacent table leaned into our space and held out a round metal object. “I carry this in my pocket for good luck. Bet you don’t know what it is.” The sly grin and cocked eyebrow bespoke the confidence that he had us stumped. I was stumped.
(“I’ll take Local History for a thousand, Alex”)
“It’s an old Rochester bus token, haven’t seen one for years.” countered the most senior of our senior trio this evening.
Slam dunk! Just like that, the intruder slid back in his seat, shoulders slumped, confidence gone, challenge repelled.
“A bus token, huh! He didn’t know I’ve been around since Roosevelt.” Without hesitation, we raised our glasses, nodded our approval and silently toasted this ‘small victory’ with a drawdown of our ales. Victories of any size are worth toasting when you’re a Senior. How quickly emotions can shift from one side to the next, or table, as was the case.
The mere mention of a President’s name segued us into an election discussion, not about the winner and loser but the electoral college. Do we like it? Does it serve its purpose? Does it validate the winner?
Interestingly, three of us couldn’t agree. One thoughtfully defended it as a method of assuring all parts of the country have leverage in the race. Another just felt that the popular vote should determine a winner. The third declined an opinion but did opine that we need civilian leaders who make smart decisions. We can all agree on that.
Someone kicked on the jukebox and an Irish ballad filled the small barroom, it was a good time to leave. We headed out the door in lockstep to the rhythm of the music, egos in tact.
We’re Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives but tonight we put alliances aside and just enjoyed our friendship, a perfect antidote to a long, arduous and grueling political campaign. And we were only the spectators….
*writer’s prerogative : I made a few revisions including a title name. I think it improves the story.