After a taxing day of hobbling around on my crutches (needed as the result of a broken ankle) last Friday late afternoon we were not by any means in the mood for making decisions about what to have for supper.
As we approached the point of no return, the Harbour Bridge, I blurted; “It’s Friday let’s go to Portland Pub for a cool one” A sharp, but controlled turn by Kimmy away from the land of Lancaster and we were on our way to the pub.
We parked the car and headed for the door. Before you could say “broken ankle” a lady sprung into action and opened the door for me.
Once inside one of the staff pushed chairs out of the way so as to give me a clear path to a spot where we could plant ourselves and watch the Olympics on the “big screen”.
We are barely seated when Sam held up two fingers and gives a sign language nod. I returned the nod and shortly after a “couple a cool ones” land on the table.
Shortly after Crystal showed up to take our order, we decide to chow down on a nacho plate.
On the way into the pub I noticed a sign in the window PORTLAND PUB CELEBRATES 25 YEARS THE MONTH OF AUGUST.
I can tell you as a small business owner 25 years is a pretty good stretch navigating you way through the economic ups and downs. Other than their longevity what else do I know about the Portland Pub?
I know that many of the staff have worked there for two decades or more.
I know that although we don’t go to the pub all that often their friendly staff always seems to remember our names and what we order.
I know that they hold Steak & Stein events on a regular basis, an event that has helped to raise thousands, probably tens of thousands, of dollars for many charities and local sporting clubs for youths and adults!! Did you know that if youth are involved in sports they are far less likely to get into trouble with the law?
And I know that last Friday night I saw that “the pub” was at it again… raising money to buy 1000 loaves of bread for the local North End Food Bank.
From time to time Kimmy and I get totally frustrated with the high taxes, the broken roads, the neglected facilities while municipal monuments are built and the lack of attention that City Management has paid to quality of life investments in Saint John and we ask; “Why do we stay here”?
The simple answer is that we stay because of the lady that opened the door for me, we stay because of the Sam’s, Andy’s and Crystal’s that remember our names, the long and short of it is, ……..we stay because of the people.
The strength and value of any community is not determined by it’s structures, its determined by its people with their kindness and compassion and in that arena Saint John is an Olympic Gold Metal Winner.
Mike is the guy that opened Portland Pub 25 years ago and I expect for most of that 25 years he and his family have, in a quiet and unassuming way worked to make Saint John a better place. Yesterday supporting kids in sports and today bread for a food bank.
Drop by, buy a ticket or two towards the 1000 loaves of bread and wish Mike and his family Happy 25th Birthday with many more to come.