Finally, the man with the tow truck arrived, and towed us to the nearest shop. The people at the shop advised us to have lunch--by this time it was 1:00--at Terry's Tavern just a block or two away by the railroad tracks. Was it OK for us to enter such a place as strangers? I asked. Yes, I was told, they are very nice and have great food.
We headed out in the cold and wind and walked along a desolate strip of warehouse type buildings until we reached Terry's Tavern, literally right next to the railroad tracks. The advice we were given was good--Terry's was welcoming to us.
The food was also good--home made, "real" food--and the prices were inexpensive.
|The Terry's Tavrn menu. The egg sandwich, which I ate as a vegetarian, was $1.50. The double sausage sandwich was $3.50. You can see too its the Midwest, with soda called "Pop." The candy bar was $.75.|
So a sense of grace surrounded entering this haven. I wouldn't have been there without a personal contact, fleeting as it was. Ironically, I wouldn't have been there without the unforeseen and intensely irritating situation of my car breaking down. I kept thinking about Harry Potter, a series I I interact with skeptically and warily, but I do accept how powerfully the books plug into archetypes. In Terry's Tavern, I saw Diagonal Alley, hidden in plain sight, or platform 9 3/4, accessible to those in the know. How much "magic" of the ordinary variety do we miss that is right in front of us?
Being in Terry's was a Christmas gift I couldn't have predicted or controlled.
|Nick had the double sausage sandwich. It came with a big plastic container of horseradish with a plastic spoon sticking out and a catsup bottle repurposed as a mayo bottle with a homemade sign.|
Finding these places feels spiritual to me, a metaphor for the half-seen world I imagine dancing all around us, just behind the thinnest of veils blowing in the breeze. I remember once taking a walk around a local lake in Maryland that I had circled dozens and dozens of times, often while pushing a baby stroller. This time, as I was wending my way around it, I felt moved to cut across a grassy lawn and enter a wooded area. I found a narrow trail there and followed it. It led to a neighborhood strictly cut off from ours due to the vagaries of local politics--the only way I had previously known to enter this neighborhood was to drive. And yet here was this trail! How could I not have known about it? Again, I had a strange feeling. I had almost been blown somewhere on a wind. The imaginative and literal met.
|Dubbed the "real Diagon Alley," York England|
I have difficulty putting into words this sense of finding evidence of the unseen in the concrete. Have others had these experiences? I believe they must be common--and uncommon. Since I am writing this on New Year's day, I am making a note to myself to keep attuned this year to the numinous. Or try to. :)
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