Ryan’s Pub

Ryan’s Pub is my favorite watering hole after the Lions Club meeting room. Ryans has existed for as long as I can remember, which goes back fifty years. Unfortunately for me, I did not truly discover the pub as my place until after my wife Barbara died. I drove past it daily, at least twice on my way to and from work. The very first time I entered the pub was to attend a going away party for an engineer who worked for me. We all had a good time in a space that sounded trashy but turned out to be fairly respectable, not unlike a pub in England or Germany where the local folks go to have a round with friends and to chat and spread the gossip of the neighborhood.

When I began frequenting Ryans after Barb’s death, it was out of loneliness and things to do. I learned that many of my Lion friends also went there to relax and dump the day’s worries. There was a pattern established that I recognized and decided to belong to. Most of my friends went there at 4:30 on Friday afternoon to pick up a fish dinner to take home. While they waited for the fish to fry, they imbibed a beer or a glass of wine and shot the breeze about the days and weeks’ efforts to make a living. Alcohol does a fantastic job of loosening the tongue. The conversations left work quickly as the subject matters discussed turned to hobbies, family, women, and daily matters that didn’t resemble work in any way.

I went to Ryan’s this evening, hoping to run into my friends. For the first time, I arrived, and none of my buddies was there. I sat down at the only seat available at the bar, next to a friendly gent whom I began a conversation with. In the conversation, he asked me if I were a Vet. I said no, but I am a veteran of sixty years of marriage. “Oh my God, he said, that is great. Not many people can claim that long.”

“I have to qualify that because it took me three marriages to reach that goal.” At that, he began laughing hysterically and almost fell off his chair. “Hey everyone, this guy is a comedian,” he shouted across the bar. Just then, my friend Greg walked in and overheard what he was saying. “He is absolutely telling the truth. He has had three wives.” Fortunately for me, Greg saved my ass from any further embarrassment and led me away from the bar to a table. As we approached the table, two more friends joined us. The time went well as friends discussed the things that matter most to us. I bought a round of drinks, and then my order of Walleye pike dinners arrived, and I had to leave.

I am glad I overcame my fear of a bar being an evil place where only badass bikers congregate and start trouble. In Europe, Ryans’ would be referred to as the local Pub. However, Ryans is frequented by bikers who happen to be the local guys who like to ride motorcycles and drink beer with their neighbors.

Three cheers to Ryan’s and all other places like them.

Gettin’ Lit With the Lights

There are only 38 days left before Christmas, and the weather tempts me to put up the lights. When the temperature is 60 plus degrees in mid-November, that is the time to decorate the yard with tiny lights, not when the temperature is 10 degrees, and the wind makes it feel like thirty below. But I’m sure I’ll pussy out of the chore and wait for the white stuff to fall and the pond to freeze before venturing out to wrestle with stiff wires and brittle branches. Why don’t I listen to myself? Probably because I have done it the hard way for the past sixty years, and the brain is a glutton for punishment.


It is always fun to get sauced while stringing lights. When it is cold, I fortify myself with a bottle of Scotch to keep my innards warm and my joints loose. Why shouldn’t I get lit along with the lights?

One of the main reasons for stringing lights outside is to brighten the neighborhood. It has been dark for so many hours now that it gets depressing. The light serves to cheer us up and keep moving.