Title: A Running Group Called the Barley Hoppers

Date Occurred: Monday, June 25, 1990

Date Written: July 6, 1990

Written by: Joel T. Kant

Copyright (c) 1990


Gary Choncholas told me about a running group called the Barley Hoppers. They meet behind the Bull and Finch bar and then run to a different bar. The group is headed by Eddie Doyle. Gary told me they leave at 7:30 pm. Gary wasn't sure if he was going to make it that night.

I took the T in. In Boston, the T means almost any form of public transportation--bus, subway, or trolley. I took a bus from my apartment in Arlington Heights to Harvard Square, and then I took the subway from Harvard to Park Street. Bull and Finch bar is a very short walk from the Park Street station. The exterior of the Bull and Finch bar is used, with only the awnings changed, for the popular television show Cheers.

As I walked to the back of the bar where the runners waited, I wondered if anyone I knew would be there. I noticed Dave among the small crowd in running clothes. I had met Dave before, but I hadn't met his friend.

Sticking out his right hand, Dave's friend introduced himself, "My name is Dayton. Like Dayton, Ohio."

Dayton is not from Massachusetts or from Ohio. He is visiting from Oklahoma.

Just before the group left on their run, Gary jogged up. He had made it after all.

After running for about a mile, we reached a bar called Bertucci's. We each had two beers there.

I talked to a balding man named Peter. Peter said he had run with the Barley Hoppers on and off for six years. I asked if he knew most of the people there. Peter told me that there was too much turnover for him to remember the names.

Eddie Doyle stood up and announced, "There will be another stop tonight."

However, Eddie didn't tell us where we were going. We left the first bar and walked--not ran--around the corner. We reached Boston's Hard Rock Cafe. It turned out that the Hard Rock Cafe was celebrating its one-year anniversary. It seems like it was only a few months ago that I picked up a Hard Rock Cafe tee shirt for Walter's sister Olga while I was in New York City because Boston didn't have one. A year had passed quickly.

The Boston Hard Rock Cafe seemed to be having a private party. Most of the people were well dressed. The group I was with was in running clothes, and slightly sweaty and disheveled from our earlier run.

The bar was open. All you had to do was walk up and ask for anything you wanted.

After about half an hour, Robert Parish, the center for Boston Celtics, came in. He was so tall that his head and shoulders stood out wherever he walked. Dave and Dayton went off to meet him. When they got back, six-foot-tall Dave muttered about feeling short. Dave also talked about the large size of Parish's hands.

Kathy asked Dayton, "Is meeting Robert Parish the highlight of your vacation?"

With a straight face, Dayton replied, "No, meeting you is the highlight of my vacation."

Kathy laughed and said, "James Bond couldn't have delivered that line better!"

I looked around. A gold cat statue sat in a glass covered box. A bronze plaque said something about Pink Floyd.

Gary said that he had an important meeting early in the morning, and he left.

After another hour, I became glad that I would be taking the T home. I had planned on having only two beers, but I had just finished my fourth. Despite the open bar, I was drinking very slowly. Fortunately, Eddie said that he was leaving and most of the group I had come with left with him. I left a just-opened bottle of beer sitting on the bar. For me, tomorrow was a working day.

As we walked back, Eddie disclosed that it was Kathy's birthday. We sang Happy Birthday to her outside the Ritz Carlton. I may have just imagined it, but Kathy seemed sad that Dayton was destined to return to Oklahoma.


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