He put his hand on my head, like one of those TV preachers. "You're good people, baby."
And at that moment, I was healed of all that ailed me.
But this was no mega-church. And he was no preacher, though he shared the same mega-watt smile.
This was P.J. Clarke's - the original on 3rd Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan.
And He is Doug Quinn, bartender and subject of a 2010 New York Times article.
For serving cheeseburgers on plain white plates, with no frills.
For not offering "Free WiFi!"
For having one tiny TV tucked in the corner of the bar.
For the meatloaf special.
For serving ketchup - Heinz of course - in a bottle and not a silly ramekin.
For attracting suits, punks, grandmas and newborns.
For being the place where I had so many unremarkable, yet special moments during my many years in New York.
For not having a hair out of place every time I return for a visit.
For being true to its roots, 127 years running.
For the healing powers of Doug Quinn.
P.J. Clarke's is what inspires me.