Stranger Whiskey

They are about to start the live music.
Earlier, the Dixie Chicks were on the radio and I thought Dad would like that. I’m alone writing in an Irish pub surrounded by drunks and their friends. This is what being a traveling hermit is like. Is it possible to be a traveling hermit without seeming like you’re running from the law? I doubt it.

The music has started, the Jack Daniels is warming me and my boots are tapping. I might just get up and dance. Something about the guitar and fiddle; No sweeter sound, major or minor.

This pub is still slow. I’m at a table for 3, occupied by 1, my back against the wall. The bar in front of me has some older folks drinking beer, a pierced and tattooed couple, and three tourists from another European country. The pub itself is livening up as the band plays an old, famous tune called “Whiskey in the Jar.” It was requested by a group of young people filling a table close to the musicians, and they are singing gleefully and loudly and clapping along.
Behind the bar, the bartender pour a round of shots for a group. Bottles of whiskey, brandy, and other spirits are lined up at the back ready for service. A broken clock hangs on the wall, stopped at 8:30. Below it are either euros or Monopoly money taped along the wall. Above it hangs Obama T-shirts and Jameson T-shirts for a reason I have yet to figure out. It’s a bar; I suppose it doesn’t need a reason. The ceiling above the bar is a bookshelf, home to about 50 strategically placed books. All are old and in the red, blue, or green bindings that barely show the title and author. Photographs of past employees or favorite customers are taped below the books so that they smile down at us like holy saints looking down on the patrons of the barstools. Different size mugs or pitchers hang from nails in the shelf and four feet in front of that hangs a line of triangle flags stretching across the pub. On the walls hang portraits, like a museum of great drinkers who did great things, and framed plaques declaring something of the Irish Republic are nailed to the centre post.

Another older couple has walked in. I believe this is one of few bars that boasts more seniors than young people after 9 pm. Maybe it’s just Ireland.
Cheerful foreigners allow their drinks to loosen them up and they smile and clap enthusiastically to the rythym of the guitar while humming along with the fiddle.
Applause erupts as another jig comes to a close. The band strikes into “Black Velvet Band” which makes me think of Dad and his friends playing it at their music jams. I think I just felt the feeling of “heartwarming.” Oh no. My heart can feel things? Damn. Ah, it was worth it anyway.

I should leave. I have a bus to catch at 10:30 tomorrow; but now, with the music reminding me of home, the last thing I want to do is leave. I have enough whiskey in my glass to last to the end of the song, “Stranger Whiskey.”

There it is. The certain strike of bow and pick on strings enunciates the final note which is quickly drowned in whistles and applaud. So I down my drink, pay my bill, and say goodnight to Dublin as I know it.

And goodnight world,



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