Not at all Grumpy

My wife (Cindy) and daughter (Bishop) recently returned from a week in Montréal, where Cindy and I met.  Specifically, we met in a bar on Bishop Street.  I was working at Grumpy’s at the time, and Cindy’s best friend (Robyn) had a brother who worked at a bar 6 doors down called Déjà Vu, who was a friend of mine (the brother).  I was visiting him one afternoon just before my shift at Grumpy’s, and Cindy and Robyn were sitting at the bar, so I got introduced.  One thing led to another, and Cindy and I were married 25 months later.

During our courtship, we attended a church service for some reason, and I mentioned that one of the ditties in the hymnbook had been penned by an ancestor of mine.  O Little Town of Bethlehem was written by Bishop Phillips Brooks.  Cindy said, “That would be a neat name for a kid!”  I said, “What, Phillips?”   She said, “No, Bishop.”  I remarked that that was his title, not his name and she said she knew that.  I asked, “Boy or girl?” and she replied, “Girl.”

So flash forward 10 years or so, and we are living in Vancouver and pregnant.  Of course the question of baby names comes up, and we decide on some combination of James and Harold (our fathers’ names) if it’s a boy, and Bishop if it’s a girl.  There turned out to be two X chromosomes in our offspring, so Bishop it was.

The funny thing is, everyone who knew us from our Montréal days, said, “Oh, isn’t that sweet – you named her for the street where you met!”  Our response was along the lines of, “Umm – yeah.  Sure.  That’s what we did.”  It had never even dawned on us that that connection was there.

Anyway, whenever we go to Montréal, there is an obligatory pilgrimage to Bishop Street and Grumpy’s bar, as evidenced by these pix.  And my enduring love for bartending and bar management, which occasionally surfaces in this blog, comes from my 4 years at Grumpy’s.

BEB- Bishop St


BTW, Bishop’s middle name is Evelyn, after my maternal grandmother.  Other grandmothers didn’t get in the running, because they had names like Claribel Fern Scovil and Rosalia Hyschinski.  And it’s pronounced EEEEvelyn, like in evening, not EVVlyn, like in Kevin, because, as her namesake used to say to me, “Who ever heard of Adam and Ev?”

BTW2, the reason there is no apostrophe in the neon sign is because of Québec’s language laws.  “Grumpy’s” would be an english  word, whereas “grumpys” is just a made-up one.


What’s in a Name

This is a map of the word people use to describe carbonated soft drinks in the different parts of the US.  Clicking on it will take you to a much more legible version.  It’s very territorial:  in the northeast, right in the middle around St. Louis, and in the southwest, people call it “soda.”  In the north and northwest, it’s “pop.”  And in the south and southeast, no matter what brand or flavour you’re referring to, you say, “coke.”  (Except for right around Miami – I guess the snowbirds have transferred “soda” down there.)

I wonder if the folks at Coca-Cola in Atlanta think of this.  We’ve all heard that it’s bad for your “brand” to become genericized like Xerox or Kleenex.  But in those states, if you were running down to the corner store, and someone said, “Grab me a coke,” and you didn’t know what their preference was, you’d get a Coca-Cola, because that’s clearly different from, say, Sprite.  It would be another matter if they asked you to grab some Kleenex – you know that all facial tissues are essentially the same, but soda isn’t.  So I think they’d be happy about this instance of genericization.  (Word?)

Anyway, reminds me of a story.  I was sitting in a bar in Auckland, when a nice American girl walked up and ordered a “7 and 7.”  The bartender looked at her quizzically, saying he didn’t know that one.  (It’s rye and 7-Up, jigged into a fancy name by the folks at Seagram’s Distilleries, makers of “Seagram’s 7” rye.)  Now, in New Zealand, they call clear soda like 7-Up, “lemonade” (I never did find out what they call what we  call lemonade…)  So I said to the bartender that what the girl was asking for was Canadian Rye Whiskey and Lemonade.   She said, “Eww, gross – I don’t like whiskey and I wouldn’t want it mixed with lemonade!”  I assured here that that’s what a 7 and 7 was, and said I’d pay for it if I was wrong, so she acquiesced and was pleased with the result.  But the thought left in my mind was, how can you drink something without knowing what’s in it?