Saturday, May 21, 2016
From the age of fourteen until I left home for good at eighteen I would awake most Saturday mornings at 9 a.m., have a quick bowl of Raisin Bran then walk northwest from my mother's house at 40th and Laburnum to the bus stop at 37th and Arbutus. From there I would catch the Number 16 that ran north on Arbutus, east on Broadway, then north again on Granville.
The first stop after crossing the Granville Street Bridge is Drake Street; the second stop, the one where I transferred to the Number 6, is Davie Street.
From the terminus of the Number 6 at Denman I would walk north to the Denman Place Inn, where I would meet my father and whoever he had gathered with at an Austrian-style cafe that had a curly white iron fence around it, as if its patio was outside, in the Alps, not inside, in a mall.
Whatever my father and I had arranged to do that day, it would begin at that cafe. Sometimes for a cup of coffee; other times for a half dozen cups. I learned so much about life and love and bullshit over these coffees, and met so many remarkable people, from Holocaust survivors to African safari guides, from rock 'n' roll singers to former Nazi paratroopers.
At the southeastern end of the Denman Place Inn is a pub that I visited recently. Comox Street Long Bar & Grill is due to close this November, to be replaced with who knows what. In the meantime, the pub continues to exude a strong neighbourhood vibe, a whole lotta love that, incidentally, was the biggest hit at karaoke that night. Unfortunately I do not have a recording of that performance, although the one posted below is close.