Top o' the morning to you on this fine Musical Monday!
(Pssst... for more musical musings, check out Soccer Mom in Denial. You'll be glad you did!)
Once upon a time, there was a magical place where leprechauns wore board shorts, shamrocks mingled with sea grapes, football was both about the Shamrock Rovers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fish & chips could mean grouper & fries (yes, I know that chips = fries. Work with me here, people!)
It was called the Harp and Thistle. A piece of Ireland -- smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle and neon of a beach community. In what was basically a double wide trailer on a corner lot at the quiet end of a busy street.
Somehow, it worked. The laid back sensibility of the beach translated well to this pub where if everybody didn’t know your name, it didn’t matter, since all who walked in the door were immediately classified as a friend. The tables were really close together, making it easy to conversate with anyone and everyone around you. Old, young, local, tourist. We were all Irish compatriots the minute we walked through the door.
The ale (Killians for me -- I know it's not from the UK, but I love it anyway) was cold, the shepherd’s pie hearty, the company engaging, the tunes rollicking. There was live music on the weekends, always of the Irish variety. Singing along was just a given, if not a prerequisite. If you didn’t know the words to a song, it was no matter. Swaying along, mug in hand sailing through the air in rhythmic motion worked just as well.
I went there on girls’ nights out, on dates, with a group. It was always fun to go with newbies, as going in, they were never sure what to expect but coming out, we’d invariably be making plans for the next time. Girls’ nights out were always interesting, as more often than not, we’d encounter similar groups of boys and spend a lively evening doing that thing boys and girls do when they meet out on the town.
The Harp & Thistle is but a memory now, as the passing of one of the owners brought an end to the mirth and merriment. There was an attempt to recreate it in a bar in one of the beach hotels (a Howard Johnson’s, of all places) but that didn’t stick.
So today, on that most Irish of days, I celebrate my little slice of the Emerald Isle as a fond flashback. With this song, with which I sang along boisterously many a Saturday night...
Before you go, I raise my beverage (AM: water or iced tea; PM: agave margarita. What. I don't like whiskey. And my margarita is light green thanks to the lime juice) in a toast to you!
My friends are the best friends
Loyal, willing and able.
Now let’s get to drinking!
All glasses off the table!
Here's to women's kisses,
and to whiskey, amber clear;
Not as sweet as a woman's kiss,
but a darn sight more sincere!
(Hey! I beg to differ on this one... come ‘ere and let me show you my sincerity...)