Chapel Lesson: Treat Everyone with Dignity

Beth Montgomery Coursen, Supervisor Town of Pawling, N.Y. , recently recalled her "chapel lessons." When she's not helping run the town, or hold peace in the bar, you can find her in the middle of a roller hockey match...

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Buying the Sunday paper after mass in the 60's. Regular lunches of Peggy's grilled cheese sandwiches. Having a pint and hot peppers with the John Guinan and fellow grounds crew members after work in the 70's. Years later dancing to Irish Music at The Rising. Finding out while trading stories there with another "Irish Night" regular that reason I find him interesting could be that we share relatives in Dylan, Ireland. Guinan's has long been a constant in my life.

Had it not been for the lessons taught over 4 decades, like others I would be feeling the loss at Guinan's closing. Even if you have only been there a time or two, you were given a lesson. Each lesson will unravel in a different way to each ear that hears it, no matter how consistent the yarn told inside the four walls of Guinan's.

The overriding life lesson I have learned from all the Guinan's is; Treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of who they are, where they came from or what their views are. In doing this you'll learn that most folks will return the favor. Some folks may need gentle reminders, others a warning. A handful will need to be shown the door in a way that may not be gentle. Age, gender or physical condition are no deterrence, I have witnessed every Guinan do this. For those that learned the lesson, the doors always remained open at Guinan's.

In incorporating all the lessons learned we all share a role in keeping the spirit of Guinan's open forever.


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