Showing posts from November, 2007
Often I get emails from someone telling me their "Guinan's Story." People have come to visit from Arkansas, Washington state, Ohio, Oklahoma and all around the country. Rather than have those tales gather virtual dust in my email in-box, I'll share them here. Here are excerpts from Robert Carow of Brooklyn, N.Y. (printed with permission). "...I took the 10:51 Saturday morning out of Grand Central to Garrison. After a wonderful trip up the river I disembarked at Garrison and THERE IT WAS! I had a couple of Sam Adams while perched on a bar stool by the window and heard some terrific stories from John. I could see his dad back in his kitchen drying a dish. Later I purchased a ham and cheese sandwich and sat out front of Guinan's to enjoy the view. Lou Lou sidled up to me, put [her] chin on my knee and agreed to sharae my sandwich which he ate with great enjoyment. I caught the 2:03 and was back in home sweet Brooklyn by 4 -- with your book in hand ... T
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Over Thanksgiving, I stopped at a sprawling gas station convenience store on my way to Rhode Island. I was juggling snacks and my wallet while trying, with difficulty, to get lids on two cups of super hot coffee. Problem was, all the lids were stuck together. So I was dropping everything else on the sticky floor trying to get them separated. It reminded me of one of the first lessons John Guinan taught me about the inner workings of his family's store: "You've got to pull apart lids for the coffee cups so they aren't all stuck together because people are already juggling briefcases and umbrellas and whatever else they're lugging around so they don't have time to fumble for a lid." When was the last time someone gave you their seat on the subway or bus? Or stopped to let you into a lane of traffic? Or another tiny gesture of courtesy that made an ordinary day just a little easier?
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The Josephine-Louise Library in Walden, N.Y. reminds me of our library here in Garrison, N.Y. -- stately, calm, technologically up-to-date, but in a quiet way that makes you still want to turn off the cellphone and unplug for a while in an armchair. The Walden book club pictured here invited me to a meeting recently where they discussed Little Chapel on the River . At one point, a member said she was a recovering alcoholic who loved reading about Guinan's because it was a safe way to be inside a pub again. I told her I'd once gotten an email from a writer I respect telling me she couldn't recommend Little Chapel because that would be like glorifying alcohol. (The writer is a also a recovering alcoholic.) I asked this Walden reader why she didn't feel the same way. There is so much more to places like Guinan's than alcohol, she told me. The pints might loosen the wheels, but the real intimacy comes with seeing the same people day after day, week after week, yea