People gather at restaurants for many reasons: to celebrate, to romance, to work a deal, to remember, or to just plain enjoy a meal.
At a Syracuse landmark last Saturday, quite a bit was going on. Young boys in loose neckties and long sleeve dress shirts, mostly untucked, and young girls in classic young girl dresses, were watching some older boys shoot pool as adults milled around in Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub, in the Tipperary Hill section of Syracuse.
It was a remembrance, or a celebration, of a life gone by. The sign just inside the door was succinct, saying only there was a post-funeral gathering that early afternoon. We were visitors passing through the chitchat and the smiles, some of which were faltering, and seemingly set to disappear.
At the table next to us, out on the beautiful enclosed porch area with stained glass etched in ancient Celtic symbols, a mom and dad with two young daughters were just finishing their meals, and the young girls were restless, and the courteous mother was concerned they would disrupt our lunch.
They were excited, she said, because they were going to Rosamond Gifford Zoo. It was a family day, an outing on a sunny day we all long needed, and they were anxious to go.
We had stopped at Coleman’s after visiting relatives in Fairmount, on the western outskirts of the city. My in-laws and Wife L and I visited my wife’s aunt, my father- in-law’s sister, who was getting ready to leave the house she lived in for more than 50 years. Her husband died not too long ago, and she is moving downstate to be with her daughter and her family.
A spotless house with many memories, and a void that was not going to be filled. She was leaving the house furnished for a young couple with a two-year-old who have bought the place, grateful for the head-start to their next chapter in a bigger, better place.
Just across Route 5, we stopped to visit another branch of my wife’s family tree. Her uncle, losing a fight with cancer, lying in a hospital bed, asleep. Her aunt exhausted, even with the help of her daughter and the bright lights that are her two grandchildren, and the extremely helpful hospice staffers who have helped make her husband as comfortable as possible.
So we went to Coleman’s afterward for our own reasons, carrying our own thoughts. I’ve been to Coleman’s before, and love the atmosphere and food and feeling of the place. It again did not disappoint as we all enjoyed our sandwiches and bangers and mash.
Turns out, though, a restaurant can only do so much. It’s the friends and family you are with that can do the most, as evidenced by all that was going on that sunny afternoon, in Coleman’s, on Tipp Hill.