[A St. Patrick’s Day repeat from December 1, 2013] Some years ago, Donna and I were in Galway with some friends. We decided to go exploring with another couple. We reconnoitered the town and saw a pub called the “Quays” (pronounced “Keys”). It was night. Raining. The place was off the beaten path. Donna and I and our friend Ivo and his wife walked in. The pub was dark and filled with smoke. Big men. Heavy. Bellied up to the bar. Beards. Black leather jackets. Noise. Many of the occupants turned to give us the eye. Have you ever been somewhere and gotten that feeling you just don’t belong? Once inside, we looked around and got that feeling.
As we moved toward the door, a loud voice from a corner booth holding about 8 people caught our attention “what’s the matter? Don’t ya like our looks?” Ivo and I looked at each other and I – respectfully – pointed out that the place was “very crowded” and there was no room for us to sit. The chap who’d called us out started to move – “sit here. We’ll make room for ya.” And people began shuffling. Shifting. All watching us. I looked at my friend. He raised his eyebrows like “let’s see where this goes.” And we moved into the group – squishing ourselves into corner seats.
They were curious about where we were from (Chicago/Edgartown, MA), why we were there (a meeting) and where all we were going (we detailed). They bought us drinks. More drinks. And refused our offer of reciprocity. After an hour or so, Morris – the chap who’d called out to us – invited us to join him and some of the others at another pub. The Tribesman. Where he was playing a horsehide drum in an Irish band. At that point, how could we say no? We walked a few blocks. The Tribesman was packed. Morris shooed people away as he pushed his way to the small alcove stage with us in tow. He set two small stools right in front of the band. Donna and I sat. Listened. Enchanted. Then we traded seats with our friends who’d been standing in the back. It turned out to be one of the most memorable evenings I’ve ever had. It could’ve all turned out verrry differently if we’d said “gosh thanks anyway.” And scurried out the door.