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Aug 24 Published in local color by Chris
Chris Matthews, publican of the beloved local institution Poet and Patriot, died Saturday at the age of 61.
Don't know a lot about him, save that he's friendly and surronded by friends whenever I see him at the Poet, and in the Poet, he has created a special environment for working stiffs, students, dart players, card players, colorful characters, and, not incidentally, Cruzio Meeting Room #2 (an honor shared by Shogun, and until a while ago, The Attic) .
He wrote a play, "A Flag to Fly" about Los San Patricos, the Saint Patrick's Battalion, composed of Irish deserters from the American army (with other European Catholics) who fought on the side of Mexico during the American war of conquest 1846-1848.
He did a lot of other things I don't know about, and I didn't really know the man save by sight at the Poet, with mutual nods and waves, a raised glass in salute, falling back into conversation at the table. He built a place and a space, a garden, with weather and wind and music and loud conversation and bathrooms with entertaining condom machines and pitchers of Guiness and interesting pictures on the wall and mix tapes of great Irish music late in the afternoon before things livened up and people turned to the juke box for music.
And now he's gone.
Go to the Poet. Draw a pint. Sit a while. Lay a rose at the bar.
Enjoy the garden, and think of the gardener.