I watched a great documentary on Netflix called “The Irish Pub”. A film crew went to some famous Pubs in Ireland and talked to the Tenders and their customers. These Pubs are not actually places to drink and party, although they are famous for exactly that. They have no TV’s or music – unless it’s on the proper night. They are community centers with Guinness and Ales.
The Pubs I saw in this wonderful look at the Old Country have been handed down through families and they have not changed much inside since they were built in the 19th century and earlier. These family Pubs think of their customers and Barmen and “Lounge girls/boys” as family as well, and they speak of them as “Characters”.
I think you have to see people in a certain way to think of them as characters. They must, at the least, have enough character to be thought of as a character. I’m sure the Irish have a word or two for the dicks among them, but they affectionately call their people characters. That takes a bigger look at someone, I think, to call them a Character.
The sense of community I got from the film about Ireland is more than what I picked up in the American neighborhood bar I grew up in. In Ireland famous local personalities like my brother Ken or the less great Sidney Stone would have small bronze plaques placed in the stone outside of the Hoosiers or Bobos or somewhere real American Characters would be honored forever.
We don’t do that in America because the Hoosiers and Bobos are not community centers with Guinness and Ales. They are investments that are created and sustained for profit at sale. Unlike Ireland, they were made to sell and enjoy in the meantime. The Irish Pubs and their people go nowhere without someone forcing them.
I think this is an interesting contrast in our peoples. My brother Ken and the less great Sidney Stone, were equally “Characters” of the American West. They would be taken in as great “Characters” In Ireland as well.
I don’t know what those “Characters” in Ireland do to get those bronze plaques, but I have some Plaque-worthy stories about the great Ken Cook and the less great Sidney Stone – and some others who I grew up with on the streets of our home towns, who will probably read these words.