Back in 1992 the Irish Rose had been in existence at the present location for a little more than a year. It was to be our second St. Pat’s Day in the new location. Bill Clinton was running for President. We were asked if his wife Hillary could come to the Irish Rose on St. Pat’s. I was beside myself. I think I was happier about Hillary coming that I would have been if her husband was coming himself.
But at the last moment, Hillary backed out. I didn’t take it too hard because we had a new business and it was becoming successful. There was a lot to be happy about. I heard that her staff was concerned with the image a bar might present, even an Irish bar on St. Patrick’s Day.
I’m in my restaurant on a Monday night. I’m kind of hanging out and walking around to the tables, an unusual thing for me but when the spirit moves me I do it. I run into two of the guys that are my customers who ran the Bernie Sanders campaign, Mike Keys and Alderman Bill Rose. They ask me if Kennedy (Chris Kennedy, Bobby’s son who ran the Merchandise Mart in Chicago the largest retail building in the world) can announce his candidacy from the Irish Rose. My answer is, that I don’t have a first-born grandchild to give them, but yes. I say that I would like them to avoid my Fridays and Saturdays but Sunday would be excellent. We leave it there at this point. I don’t think the situation had really worked its way into my head.
The next day I am driving into the city to get my fish and produce when it really hits me. Bobby Kennedy’s son is going to come to the Irish Rose. I am a child of the sixties. I had just started at Beloit College at seventeen. In October, I had my eighteenth birthday and in November I sat in the Sigma Pi Fraternity and watched Jack Kennedy’s death in Dallas. Later, it was his brother Bobby in California and he too died. I remember reading Contract on America. Then it was all in doubt but now it is not.
I call Cari Ann and tell her to email them and tell them that I do not care what night of the week it is, I just want a Kennedy in my place. I say to leave it totally up to his schedule and I do not care if it is a Friday or a Saturday, I just want him here.
So, a seventy-one-year old restaurant and bar (Irish) owner, a child of the sixties and a graduate of hopelessly liberal Beloit College is welcoming the Son of Robert Kennedy to the Irish Rose on the Fourth of July (which incidentally happens to be his birthday according to Wikipedia.). I couldn’t be more excited. We are going to kick things off with a free appetizer spread at four PM. Chris will be arriving around five and stay until he must leave to march in the Rockford Fourth of July Parade. There will be a suggested twenty dollar donation to his campaign. I hope you will attend.
Enjoy your holiday!!