The year was 1995, and I turned 21 that year. It was an auspicious time, filled with many misadventures and many happy circumstances. I was blessed with a great deal of luck and privilege, and my guardian angel surely deserved an award for guiding me past any and all adversities that came my way.
On Thursday, March 16, I crossed the threshold at 77 Broad Street, around 5pm, wearing my Tartan Scally Hat. I was to meet my Da there, for an after work birthday pint. To those not in the know 77 Broad Street, Boston, is one of the finest drinking establishments in town, Mr. Dooley’s Tavern. It is a place that is both small and large, and contains the kind of charm that a wide-eyed late teen/early twenty-something would covet from afar when starting to desire and plan to drink legally.
Somehow, the word got around to my Uncle Mikes (I have two Uncle Mikes, a paternal and a maternal ) that I was meeting my Da for a pint at Dooley’s. If there is a crossroads of time, or an alternate universe where I could re-experience this night again, I would do so. The magic of it is well remembered and cherished.
I sat and waited for my Da to come, and in walked my first Uncle Mike.
He was also wearing a Scally Cap. He sat and we shared a drink. A moment later, my second Uncle Mike walked into Dooley’s.
He was also wearing a Scally Cap.
Last but not least, in walked Da, and you guessed it, he was wearing his Scally Cap too.
The mood was convivial, and I felt as if I had been baptized, brought into the club, as if I was one of the guys. It felt great. It still feels great.
On this, the 23 anniversary of that event. I thank the universe for such a gift.
Although, Da has moved on to Broader Streets,
I still have my Uncle Mikes, and when I lift a pint, I think back to that night, huddled in a booth,
sipping pints, four huge Irish-American heads covered in Scally Caps, welcoming a young lad into the fold.