I went to see a kids’ hockey game in London yesterday afternoon. I was going to see a movie there in the evening. Between, I wanted to find a cozy place for supper and to write my blog post. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to say but virtually always something comes out to ask for expression. (This, twenty-two hours later, is that post.)
It had been a long time since I’d been in the Morrissey House and so my nose led me there. How about a beer and some funky British dish? The angled wooden bar seats six people. A young couple were off to the right and an older guy was hunkered down on the left edge. I sat down two seats from him.
It’s unusual in my life that someone says hi before I do but today was my lucky day. “Harold” was engaged in a conversation with the bartender, and included me. It sounded like they were negotiating a trade, and indeed they were.
“How about four cuts for the painting?” offered the bartender.
“Sounds fair to me, ” returned Harold.
Wow. If only all of life’s exchanges could be so simple.
Turns out that Harold is a barber in the back of a high-end men’s clothing store. And Mr. Bartender is a painter. I Googled the shop and found out that cool services such as a “hot towel shave” were on offer.
“I bet you know what you’re doing when you’re looking down on someone’s hair, Harold,” I chimed in.
“I’m good at what I do.”
How refreshing. Someone who sees their ability accurately, without pomp and circumstance.
I looked more closely at the employees flitting to and fro. They were often smiling. And they wore black t-shirts. On the front was “I ♥ the MO.” On the back … “I am human and I need to be loved.” Okay. This is my type of place. I asked my friend who was pouring drinks “Who owns the Morrissey House?” The reply was accompanied by a gesturing arm. “The fellow in the ball cap – Mark.” He was seating a couple at a window table. Big smile. No edge. Homey. I like this room and its inhabitants.
Harold and I got going about Newfoundland. We both were in St. John’s in September. We talked about getting “screeched in” on George Street, and the astonishing host at Christian’s Bar who learned, and remembered, everyone’s name. There must have been thirty people participating in the ceremony. That was a moment last night when Harold and I locked eyes in admiration for a young Newfie guy with fully operating brain cells.
We talked of the bright colours of St. John’s, the many homes painted in red, yellow or blue. We talked of the people who laid open their welcome mats for us. We were instant friends.
Harold is a regular at Morrissey’s and an hour after our first contact here comes “Ian”, another one. He sits between us. There’s an Irish lilt in his words as he tells me he’s from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Ian regales me with the beauty of Gros Morne National Park near his hometown, and soon it’s a three-way conversation about the wonders of St. John’s eateries and drinkeries. “Did you go to Quidi Vidi?” > “Yes! And the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company with its wooden paddle full of beer samples.” > “How about Linda’s Place there, right across from Mallard Cottage?” > “I was in Mallard Cottage but I don’t remember anything across the street.” > “It had another name but Linda was the star. What a character!”
Wow. Look at what I was in the middle of (well, actually on the right end). Three senior guys whooping it up in memory. I got Google Maps going on my phone and found Mallard Cottage. When I enlarged the screen, I saw “Inne of Olde” across the street from Mallard. I enlarged the photo of a smiling woman and showed it to my fellows. “That’s Linda!” bellowed Harold. And we all laughed some more.
Here’s a Google comment about Linda’s place:
Linda (the owner) has so much heart for those around her, and anyone that comes in is another new friend or family member to her. Welcoming atmosphere, with trinkets from around the world and often stories along with them.
Definitely worth the stop in for a pint or a shot or three.
I’ll definitely come back every time I’m in St. John’s with a few friends in tow. The YACC community will keep coming back, Linda, from your adopted cancer kids – we love you!
Wow all over again
Morrissey’s and Linda’s
Harold and Ian and Linda and Bruce
And a smiling young couple at the other end of the bar