Early that morning, Father Lawrence Edward Lynch was honored at a beautiful ceremony at the triangle that once again bears his name. Arriving at Lynch Memorial Triangle Saturday, we were very blessed to be greeted by so many residents and good friends.
“God is looking down on us with favor,” Councilman Eric Ulrich said as the program began, and he was right. After a few real frigid nasty weeks, Saturday almost felt like the first day of spring.
We were honored to be joined by members of the Lynch family, who traveled back home for the ceremony. They were very touched and overjoyed that after all these years, the community still remembered the sacrifice he made for his country and his fellow soldiers.
His life was immortalized in a book which took its title from his nickname, Father Cyclone. One of the things you take away from this book is the idea of right and wrong.
Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong; even crooks and criminals know the difference between right and wrong, they just choose to ignore it.
The lesson you learn from Father Lynch’s life is that knowing the difference isn’t enough. Sometimes, doing the right thing is harder. And it’s in those instances where it’s doubly important to do the right thing. It’s what he did time and time again throughout his life and career as a soldier and a chaplain.
Afterwards, the crowd assembled at Neir’s Tavern for a good old-fashioned St. Patrick’s Day Party in Father Lynch’s honor. The Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society provided food and American Legion Post 118 provided free beer, wine and soda. And as far as I recall, significant portions of everything were consumed in short order.
Later in the day, a group of us walked from Neir’s over to Geordie’s Joint, on the corner of 80th and Jamaica, to wish them well on their opening day.
You are likely familiar with the location, as it was home to Mike’s Pub for many years. Owner Mike Brennan decided it was time to retire (we wish you well, Mike), and for many of us in the neighborhood it was sad news. We thought we had lost another good business.
But then came the news that it was reopening, owned by a familiar face to the regulars there. Geordie Robinson has been behind the bar there since Reagan was president, and everyone who came out to wish him well couldn’t have been happier.
For an Irishman who came to the United States in 1981 to now own the bar he worked in for so many years, it was the culmination of his American Dream and everyone who came out knew it.
Included in the crowd of well-wishers were his family from Ireland, who were beaming with pride.
But no one was more proud of Geordie than his wife Patricia. The two of them met and fell in love at Shane’s Pub in Woodside, and within a few years they had set up shop here in Woodhaven, where they have lived ever since.
I had spoken to Pat just before the opening, and she was describing the atmosphere among the patrons there.
“It’s a very friendly environment and the people tend to look out for one another,” she told me. “We’re like family here.”
From everything I’ve seen so far, I have to agree.
Saturday was a special day for Woodhaven, as we had two very special things restored to us. That it occurred a week before St. Patrick’s Day could best be chalked up to the legendary luck of the Irish.
This St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to hoist a pint in honor of Father Lynch and Geordie Robinson and all the other people out there like Geordie, who come to this great nation in search of a dream. May all of our American dreams come true.