I stood in the doorway as one gentlemen after the next, along with a few scattered women, arrived for dinner.
“Do you have your ticket?” I’d ask, as they dug into the pockets of their winter coats or pulled them from their wallets. Heads usually down. A smile at best.
From time to time, I had to step outside to say that, yes, they were in the right place…come on in…welcome.
I was at Durty Nelly’s this Christmas Eve. There to help serve dinner to the less fortunate folks around Halifax. “Enjoy your dinner,” I’d say as I opened the door and welcomed them into this unfamiliar territory.
With my two youngest at their father’s for Christmas Eve, The Tall Blonde and I were feeling the need to do something a little different this year. So, when we’d heard that the pub’s partners, Joe McGuinness and Kyle Drake, along with their manager, Mike Carey, were turning their closed pub into a full Christmas Dinner for the less fortunate around the streets of Halifax, we happily volunteered.
And we received, far more than we gave.
As the snow came down and folks departed the restaurant, while I opened the door and wished them a Merry Christmas, I was given a few hugs and the joyous statements of “God, Bless You!” There were a couple of bows…a few “you’re an angel” and one “you’re just like Mrs. Claus!” There were many comments stating it was the best meal they’d ever had…one elderly gentlemen even going so far as to say it was better than a feed of “Kentucky Fried Chicken!” Yet another, stating that “he knew me”…and I agreed that he does…for I see him on many occasions when I head downtown for a night with friends as he often stops to tell me the same old joke I’ve heard from him countless times…”What did the fish say when he ran into a wall under water?”
It was an evening of gratitude and awe…love and appreciation.
On Christmas Eve this year, despite not having my two youngest and feeling a little sorry for myself…I tried something new. With my daughter by my side, we gave a little back to this city we adore. We counted our blessings for everything we have…for our family and friendships, our home and the oil that heats it, for the food on our table…for the constant love that surrounds us.
This Christmas Eve was one of the greatest nights I’ve ever spent in downtown Halifax.
In one of my favourite pubs.
Surrounded by beautiful, amazing, wonderful, joyful people…leaving with smiles on their faces…as the snow came down on the streets outside.