Thinking of yee Olde Irish Joanne

I called her "my Joanne". She was the sister I always wished for but never had until we became friends and we were inseparable. She and I worked together at the CD shop and we were like ridiculous little school girls when we worked the same shift. She was a free spirit with an infectious laugh. She brought out the best in everyone around her.

Life was simpler back then

We did silly things together like on a whim one day we took a bus during our lunch hour to town central and got tongues rings - then went back to work for the rest of our shift and realized it was a really stupid thing to do when you had to talk to clients, but we were young and carefree and it felt like life was too. We didn't give two hoots what anyone thought either.

This was before mobile phones were what they are now and you had to press a button multiple times for it to get to the correct letter you needed on an sms - whatsapp hadn't been born yet, facebook didn't exist and life felt real. It was long before digital cameras even. This was when people still spoke to each other face to face and held each other through the hard things, gave each other high fives after victories and when we still had to wait nine counts while dialing numbers on rotary dial phones. Was this the analogue era still?

Going out for no reason at all

Jo and I went on an excursion one day in town central. I can't tell you what the reason was, there probably wasn't one other than to be out in the world.

I remember we were walking in St George's Street when the sky blackened and it started pouring down in sheets of driving rain. We weren't dressed for this kind of rain, so our clothing quickly became soaked and while giggling at the absurdity of the situation, Jo pulled me by the arm into a little "hole in the wall" type place which I didn't even know existed.

It was an old Irish Pub with dim lighting and the typical kind of bare sandstone brick walls. It felt like a different century when we stepped inside, being greeted by mixed apprisals ranging from scolding to cheers that we had come in from the bad weather. There was a roaring fire burning in the old curved stone top fire place and there was music playing softly in the background, almost drowned out by the noise of the rain falling.

Even though the place seemed dark and a little dingy, it felt strangely welcoming and it was unpretentious in it's simplicity and unapologetic authenticity.

The memory is old and a little bit faded, but we sat by a window, watching this torrential downpour cleanse the dirty city streets which now closely resembled a ghost town. We ordered pub lunch specials and Irish coffee and we sat talking about everything and nothing.

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This is the only photo I have of Joanne, taken days before I left for England. It's dated on the back, it was just over 20 years ago now. She was a wonderful friend and I will never forget that day drinking Irish Coffee with her staring at the rain outside while our soggy hair dripped rain water down our faces.

Jo relocated to Ireland in 2003 with her daughter who was a toddler at the time, a free spirit with an infectious laugh, just like her mom. Joanne added sparkle to the world and I would love to know where she is now. So this morning I drank a non-alcoholic Irish Coffee in toast to Olde Irish Joanne and this treasured 20 year old memory.

Image is my own, photograph in the image is the original processed from film, 2001.

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Calvin & Hobbes - Bill Watterson

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