Book Club: Walden, N.Y.--Can You Love the Pub But Not the Booze?

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, year after year and knowing you can depend on their presence even if the rest of the world has gone silent and distant or let you down.

To me, Guinan's has always felt like a place that sometimes feels more like home than home itself; the beer was just another product sold, albeit one that had a social element to it.

What you think? Can you love pubs as much if you don't drink alcohol?


Anonymous said…
i have 3 1/2 years of recovery and ill tell you that as long as your on strong spritual ground alcohol shouldnt be a problem, and there is an air of sprituality about Guinans. Any one who attends saint Josephs would know that. Guinans has never been about getting drunk. They dont cater to the problem. I can attest from my own personal experiance with the guinans that they were a very caring family and never wanted any on to suffer from the afflictions of alcohol or drugs. And besides all that how about the great ham and cheese sandwichs and the yoo hoo. Guinans is way more than a pub its your own personal experience and what you make it. Dont use the excuse that you dont drink for not going there if you do its your loss,and your missing out on a great social incounter of the irish kind.
Don't think any of my discovery of this Irish pub and the book of memoirs from this place was a coincidence. I'm not an avid reader and haven't read all that many books, but I'm enjoying it more that I am retired. What's so good about Little Chapel on the River is it is about real people, and I think I can really enjoy reading every post on this blog. I can see one connection that may be grasping at straws because I'd love to be part of this special family. My mother in law, Hoyte Bounds (RIP), was a "Steel Magnolia" from rural Mississippi, south of Hattiesburg.

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