Catching up with the Tavern patrons.
I miss being behind the bar at the Tavern and being able to see everyone. I figure that a lot of us have been kind of out of touch lately. With the numerous shutdowns and stay home orders, the tavern closing, and just not seeing the people that we would often see under normal circumstances. This post is about catching up, about seeing how some of us are dealing with life now.
I jumped online and messaged to a few people specifically that I know I’ve been missing terribly. I asked them a few questions about if they had changed jobs or found a new place to hang out, and what they miss about the Tavern. It was bittersweet getting to talk to them.
Nick Vickers was a regular patron and friend to all of us. His shenanigans and love for whiskey made our nights fun and memorable. Vickers was a character that would travel from Kenmore to come to spend his time with us at the Tavern. His karaoke singing and his generous heart is something I have always loved about him. When I talked to him, he said that he’s been unemployed since September and is, like many of us, still struggling with getting any answers from unemployment. He also said that he is looking forward to getting the covid19 vaccine and returning to the workforce. When I asked if he had found another bar to hang out with, he said that he hadn’t been out and about since the Tavern closed. He has returned to the local bar that he spent time at in the before times, the Lucky 7 in Kirkland. Then the question that makes people a little bit sad and nostalgic. But he misses the Tavern “I miss the community and atmosphere of the tavern the most; you knew you’d see family when you walked in the door.”
My second interview was with Marcus Hanson. Marcus had a presence one would find hard to overlook when in the bar. The listening ear, the shoulder to lean on, the best hugs, and great conversation. If you ever talked to him, he was the guy who worked on lasers and had the kitten named 7 of 9. He told me that he had changed jobs since the Tavern closed. He is still doing Field Service Engineering, but now he’s in Construction Management as well. He says he “hasn’t found another bar. Honestly, nothing compares to what we had there at the AFK”. When I asked him about what he misses most about the AFK, he continued. “I miss the camaraderie most. It was a place where I could just go and be myself…with other people being themselves. The AFK has got to make a comeback. And I’ll pitch in to make it happen”.
My third catching-up interview was with Drew Dolan. Drew was usually the quietest one of us. You could draw him into a conversation about history, movies, music, his acting pursuit, or anything Star Wars on the deck. Drew was regular that rarely changed his drink and when we saw him walk in, it was usually on the bar before he could speak. He was working for Boeing when the virus hit and the pinch was felt in his department. He is still unemployed and not going out much. When he has gone out, it’s been to Soundview. Another Everett staple with a sizable outside area, and is following the safety protocols. Drew said what he misses most about the Tavern is being able to go there anytime and have an exciting and fun talk with someone.
From my perspective, being able to keep in contact with the people who made AFK what it was and hopes to be again one day is something that I will always cherish. We have all cultivated relationships that will last a lifetime, and it is most important now to keep in contact than ever.