Home Is Everywhere

I grew up in Providence, RI, a smallish city in a famously tiny state. Rhode Island’s smallness extended to its perception of travel distance, which said that Boston, a whopping forty minutes north on I-95, was too long a trip to make without very good reason. At nineteen, having taken a year’s sabbatical from school, I found myself feeling penned in by Providence and its claustrophobic familiarity and convinced my closest friend to accompany me on a great adventure to London. He agreed, and six months later we touched down at Heathrow. We found lodging at a B & B, which was really just a cheap hotel with communal bathrooms.  And a bar. I was only nineteen, but this was Europe, where if you wanted to drink, then by God or whatever they believed in there, you could drink. One night I was sampling my first cocktail, a Malibu Rum and coke, when I heard a familiar sound. That sound was the word, “Gawd,” spoken by a young woman—and then by another young woman. I looked up as a herd of them paraded by, all speaking in what sounded like but couldn’t possibly be what is known in Rhode Island as a Cranston accent.

“Who are they?” I asked the bartender.

“Oh, they’re from a school in America called Bryant College.”

Bryant was located approximately twenty minutes from the Kenower family front door. They’re following me, I thought.  So my friend and I soon made our way to Dublin.  We traveled by boat, crashing across the Irish Sea in the black of night and arriving in Ireland’s capital at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning. Dublin at 7:00 AM is a quiet place. So is its one bus terminal. My memory of that morning was that we were the only ones in that deserted terminal. I was wrong. But sometimes you see what you need to see so you can finally have the experience you want.

Two years later I was back in Providence and bartending when in walked Tony Lee. Tony was a happy guy I had worked with for a few months when I was senior in high school. We shook hands and said how great it was to see one another, and then Tony wagged a finger at me and said,

“Hey, Bill.  Have you ever been to Dublin?”

“Yeah.  I was there two years ago.”

“And were you in the bus terminal on a Sunday morning?”

“Yes . . .”

Tony smiled and slapped the bar top. “I knew that was you!”

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You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com

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