HOME
BLOG
BACKBAR
JUKEBOX
PUBLICAN'S PERCH
COCKTAILS
CONTACT US
     A SHOT FOR A VOLLEY
small orange logo
DAVID McBRIDE
It was described to me as something like an Irish Mardi-Gras.  Somewhere in the hills of eastern Pennsylvania, in a town I had never been to, I would find a St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration that would be nothing like anything I had ever experienced or even heard of.  It would be difficult to find a room, perhaps even harder to get around this little town, but we just had to see it to believe it.  According to the legend, there was even a woman they called the “Shot Lady” who handed shots of whiskey out to the parade participants.  Did I really want to do this?  Would a man who prefers a nice quiet barstool to a crowded party really like this type of raucous weekend?  And tell me again where the hell is Jim Thorpe, PA?
Dog in irish hat by Kathleen Connally as seen in American Public House Review




Broadway in Jim Thorpe as seen in American Public House Review
BROADWAY IN JIM THORPE





Normally these questions would have kept me away from such a celebration, but this was St. Patrick’s Day and my friends were excited about the idea.  Who was I to be the bore on my favorite holiday?  And after all, there really couldn’t be a “Shot Lady”, now could there? 

So off we went, my wife and I, the day before the parade deep into Carbon County, Pennsylvania to meet our friends.  Driving to Jim Thorpe made me wonder what we were doing out here.  It looked like a fairly nondescript place, much like home.  What could be so fascinating to get us out here when we could just as easily be at my local Irish pub enjoying the day with the other regulars.  But as the road winds down the mountains towards town, the surprises begin.  The railroad hugging along the opposite side of the Lehigh River gives us our first hint that Jim Thorpe was once something much more prominent then my memory yields.  The 19th century train depot, gorgeous European architecture, and prominent downtown hotel offer the next hint.  As you turn to drive up the main street, you eyes dart to a quick glimpse of gothic mansions on the hill and then you are overwhelmed by the Irish flags and banners that seem to color the whole town in green, orange and white.  (We may have a little fun after all…maybe.)


The Shot Lady as seen in american Public House Review
YES, THERE IS A LEGENDARY 'SHOT LADY'
( . . .  shhh! it's just Sheila all gussied up.)


When we found our bed and breakfast, called the Gilded Cupid, our friends were waiting for us. They included my Editor Chris Poh and his wife, as well as contributing writer John West and his wife.  They are all fellow pub lovers who prefer a good conversation on a barstool as opposed to the noise and confusion of a rowdy crowd, so I knew that my reservations would probably be echoed by my cohorts. 

But it was instantly clear they already were having a blast.  They raved about the town and our accommodations.  Before we were introduced to the owners, Chris pulled me aside holding back laughter and said, “Not only is there actually a ‘Shot Lady’, but the owner of this B & B IS the ‘shot lady’!”  He also noted that I should prepare myself for being pressed into service, helping Sheila hand out her whiskey to the parade participants and then even tend bar afterwards. 

“Tend bar?  Where”, I asked. 

“She has a bar in the back with a keg and bottles of whiskey to serve her friends and guests.” Chris replied.  “I volunteered the two of us to work behind the bar.”

Things were really starting to look up, but tomorrow is when things can get hectic.  My judgment was still being withheld.


Sheila and Bob own a magnificent place, and made my wife and I feel at home right away.  We all sat around that night listening to them debrief their guests on what the next day would entail.  It was noted that Chris and I had volunteered for an important job.  We were on the front lines of making this gathering, something that was obviously very important to Bob and Shelia, their loved ones and neighbors, a big success.  We didn’t quite know what to expect, but we were excited.




The bar at the Gilded Cupid
THE BACK BAR AT THE GILDED CUPID



When I awoke on the morning of the parade, Jim Thorpe was alive with excitement.  You could feel it in the air. Downstairs The Gilded Cupid was buzzing.  I pulled on my best Celtic Football jersey and dove into the fun.  Before lunch we were all at least a half a dozen drinks in, well acquainted with our new friends, and laughing almost constantly.  Bob informed us that time was short and we needed to start to prepare nearly 200 shots for the parade.  I was not totally aware of it, but I was having a good time.

The parade was an amazing display of Irish culture and local pride.  But what was most impressive was how each marcher stopped in front of the Gilded Cupid, not only to get their drink, but to thank Sheila and express their sincere love and gratitude to her.  The “Shot Lady” was much more than just a free drink stop.  She was an institution along this route, and one that brought respect and heartfelt warmth from all who paraded by.

the proprietor of The Gilded Cupid
Bob




Vintage Chevy with Irish acoutrement
THE GRAND MARSHAL'S VINTAGE CHEVY






Celtic United as seen in American Public House Review
CELTIC UNITED



From somewhere out of view, further back in the parade line, a loud blast rang down Jim Thorpe’s Broadway.  My wife said to me, “What the hell was that?”  I told her it sounded like musket fire, but that it was too far away to know for sure.  Whatever it was, it was heading our way.

Around the bend and down the hill came a company of Union Civil War re-enactors, muskets on their shoulders.  I was silently hoping that their next blast would come close to our perch.  How great would that be?  As they came closer, the parade slowed for the kind of normal traffic one encounters during parades.  I wanted to get a closer look at their uniforms and firearms, so I grabbed a tray full of Irish whiskey and walked up towards them.  At that moment I could hear Chris yelling to me from the porch where he was pouring more shots.  “Hey Dave!  A shot for a volley!  A shot for a volley!!”  I thought to myself, what a fabulous idea!

I turned to the man at the head of the regiment and repeated Chris’ suggestion.  “A shot for a volley, gentlemen?”

 “Oh, that’s no problem!” was the immediate response.




a volley as seen in American Public House Review
A VOLLEY OF MUSKET SHOTS WHICH WERE OFFERED IN 
TRADE FOR A VOLLEY OF IRISH WHISKEY SHOTS




After they tossed back their whiskey, the muskets came off their shoulders.  Commands were shouted with perfect precision, and a huge bang rang through the streets of Jim Thorpe.  The crowd cheered with excitement and appreciation.  I thanked the man for the volley and invited him and his fellow soldiers back to the Cupid for a drink or two afterwards.  I thought it was the least I could do.  After all, these guys had just provided us a terrific story we would tell for years to come.

When the parade had finally passed us by, we all went inside, and Chris and I manned our stations behind the bar.  Bob and Sheila have an incredible antique wood bar and it provided the perfect backdrop for the laughing, singing, and camaraderie that followed.  There were firemen, family, soldiers and more.  Some in kilts, others in uniforms, but all with some sort of tribute to Ireland displayed about them.




The Author and the Editor of American Public House Review
THE AUTHOR (RIGHT) AND OUR EDITOR AT THEIR STATIONS
BEHIND THE BAR AT THE GILDED CUPID




But I was particularly pleased to see three men in blue Union uniforms making their way to the bar.  We once again applauded their contribution to the day’s joy and offered a drink.  They were all too happy to accept, and even happier to be so appreciated.  They told us about their regiment, and my wife even found out that one of them was from a town near where she grew up and they had mutual acquaintances.  I guess more people had heard of Jim Thorpe, PA then we thought. 

All the elements of a perfect St. Patrick’s Day celebration were found on that afternoon at the bar in Bob and Sheila’s Gilded Cupid.  My wife and I arrived in Jim Thorpe with reservations about what we might find there.  But we left with lifelong memories, great new friends, and an event that would become a tradition we look forward to every year.




pipers in the Jim Thorpe parade
AYE, THE PIPES AS ALWAYS







THE GILDED CUPID BED & BREAKFAST

40 West Broadway
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania 18229
(570) 325 5453

www.gildedcupid.com

GET DIRECTIONS




Advertisement 



McCrea Banner

McCrea Montage


SPEND A ROMANTIC AND RESTFUL RESPITE
IN A HISTORIC AND BEAUTIFUL DELAWARE RIVER VILLAGE



THE WIDOW McCREA HOUSE
50 KINGWOOD AVENUE
FRENCHTOWN, NEW JERSEY 08825


www.widowmccrea.com




HOME
BLOG
BACKBAR
JUKEBOX
PUBLICAN'S PERCH
COCKTAILS
CONTACT US