First off… Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays whatever your choice of celebration… your friendly bartender wishes you nothing but the best. And a very Happy New Year!
Now before I begin with this week’s post, a re-post actually (with one or two edits) of something I wrote a few years ago, I thought I’d give you some background material with this one. A little history lesson to hopefully give it more meaning.
You’ve heard me speak in the past about the legend that is our bar and how the building itself goes back to the mid 1800’s, well long before it was stocked with bottles and the hushed word spread through the city that we were a speakeasy, this brownstone served as a residence for three different owners. And one such owner who called it home along with his socialite wife, Laura Williams, both of whom owned additional residences in Newport and Paris (though they definitely preferred their New York address at Christmas time), was an ex-major in the Civil War who shared the same given name as his famous grandfather. Who was Clement C. Moore. That’s right… THE Clement C. Moore who wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, which is known more readily to most as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. Pretty cool, huh? And as irony and history would have it, he wrote that poem for his grandchildren, one of whom was this guy… our former landlord!
So with that in mind and the meter of that poem, I offer this most humble spin-off straight out of Barland…
‘Twas the Day After Christmas…
‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the pub
Not a creature was stirring and there lay the rub.
The glasses were cleaned, all the fruit cut and peeled,
With hopes that a customer soon would need healed.
But history says they’re all snug in their beds
While visions of invoices dance in their heads.
“To go to a bar,” they might sadly lament,
“Is just what we need but we’re too overspent.”
So I in my apron and waiter with tray
Had just settled down for a long tip-less day.
When out on the street there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my post to see what was the matter.
There to the window I flew like a flash,
Threw back the shutters and pulled up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear…
Santa Claus seeking both solace and cheer.
But gestures were clumsy, not lively and quick,
I knew in a moment this can’t be St. Nick.
For here was a man who was still on a tear,
A department store Santa in nobody’s care.
I ushered him in, nonetheless, I dare say,
For under that costume a broken heart lay.
Yes here was man who had spent all his “cheer”,
To whom was left nothing but whiskey and beer.
A bartender knows this… the lonely man’s gaze,
It’s something he’s seen over too many days.
And drinking to hide it at this time of year
Does nothing but heighten the trace of a tear.
“So how about coffee?” I ventured with hope,
As he slid on the stool fairly struggling to cope.
“It’s not what I want I must tell you, alas,
But that’s what I need ’cause I’m drunk on my ass.”
Then coffee was served and a cup after that
As he told me his story right there as he sat.
For his was like many it’s too sad to say…
The orphan on Christmas and then the next day.
The story’s as old as the Yuletide itself,
Poor souls discarded and placed on a shelf.
Where these should be days where we reach for each other,
Claiming to all we are sister and brother,
We toss to the wind these most noble of notions,
Reaping instead needless stress and emotions.
But that’s what it is and that’s what we’ve wrought,
Now that our Christmas is paid for and bought.
So then when the coffee had managed its trick
I threw in some breakfast for ersatz St. Nick.
Grateful, he thanked me with words quick and clear,
For gone was that cloud and all signs of a tear.
And then with a wink and a nod of his head
He soon let me know I had nothing to dread.
He sprang to his feet, to a cab did give whistle,
Away he then flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight,
“I really was Santa at least for a night!”
See you next week-end, dear reader, have yourself a good one!