I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague
I called bingo for five years at the Royal Canadian Legion in Charlottetown. Under the tutelage of “Johnny Boy” Dunn I honed my skills and mastered the craft. But like many a talent, calling bingo lost its usefulness, and for many years it sat on the back burner waiting for a chance to shine again. Not too long ago the back burner got turned on, and I found myself calling bingo once more, at a Friday night fund-raiser for a grade eight, french class trip to the Maggies. I don’t mean to brag…but I still got it baby. You’d swear I just finished a shift at the Legion.
After the games were through a few bingo-playing friends and I decided to head out for a bite to eat and a little something to soothe the vocal chords. The five of us ranged in age from 29 to 36. There were two girls and three guys, one of which was wearing a suit. We wanted food and drink and we wanted them in a spot we could chat. We decided on St. James Gate.
St. James Gate reminds me of a few places I’ve been before, none of which are on PEI. Strangely, it reminds me very little of the St. James Gate in Moncton; it’s much smaller and not nearly as nicely laid-out. It does remind me of The Economy Shoe Shop in Halifax and The Royal Oak in Ottawa. Here’s how...
Every town needs a place for the yuppies to go and party with their own. I hate to use that word, yuppie. But frankly, it’s the one that fits. Until the first of the year there were a couple of places that catered, to some degree, to well-dressed young professionals. Since St. James Gate opened in December, it has fully established itself as a 30-something stronghold. Maybe it’s the candle-light, maybe it’s the rock and roll, maybe it’s the abundant selection of imported draught. Whatever it is, it’s working. And the weekends are three deep at the bar.
That Friday night was no exception. We got there at ten, and the place was three-quarters full. We munched on chicken bruscetta and drank imported beer, well at least I did. We chatted. We laughed. Some of us even tried to stay out after bed time (the older you get the sooner it is, you see). Being the youngest in the crowd, I decided to stay out late. My friends went home and left me to my devices. So, I found some other friends. We chatted, laughed and drank imported beer. And then I found some other friends. Before I knew it the place was full and I was enjoying myself rather heartily. The band was playing The Police, people were dancing and, well, spring was in the air, let’s say. I decided to retire just before closing time.
I really enjoyed myself that bingo-calling, Friday night at St James Gate. I guess it was a good fit for a yuppie like me.