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Arthur Reid, 90, enjoys a pint of Courage bitter at his local in South Gloucestershire where he has been a regular for 72 years.

I read a story in an online English paper about a “pensioner” who has stopped by his local tavern for a pint of his favorite bitter every day since he was 18 … he’s 90.

The story was accompanied by this photo of the man sitting at his table in a cozy corner of the rustic pub holding up a pint of Courage and smiling.  In his expression, I like to imagine I see a man who has kept things simple and is content with his life.

I come from a line of farmers and seafarers. The draw of a simple existence in the pursuit of a contented life was infused in me by the stories of my parents and their parents.

Still for years, I sought an interesting life, a romantic life, a life of trial and adventure in the pursuit of happiness and meaning.  While I enjoyed it all and regret nothing, I eventually recognized that the simple things were the most fulfilling and that to be content is far more gratifying … this story reminds me of that.

A significant part of my pursuit of simple pleasures has always been a pint at the local watering hole.  As good as I might be with words, it’s difficult to explain why it’s so important … but from the first time I entered a tavern and saw men laughing, slapping backs and cursing at each other with one elbow on the bar and a cool, froth-topped mug in their hand, I couldn’t wait to be of age … I was about 5.

As I grew older, I continued to romanticize and idealize the notion of saddling up to the bar as my grandfather and father had done throughout my childhood. When it was my turn, the experience was all that I had wanted it to be … it was welcoming, it was comforting; in many ways it was home.  That feeling has yet to go away …

My wife fusses at me for spending too much time in the past, reflecting on past hardships and family lost or far away.  She worries that I drink because of romantic or sentimental connections I’ve made between “the drink” and my ancestors. It’s true … standing at the rail of a bar I feel reunited with all of them … our love of the pint and the pub in which it’s served ties us all together … it’s how all of us were raised. As much as I hate to stereotype those of my descent, perhaps, as with many stereotypes, it  exists for a reason.

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