Cheers! Through the tears

Cheers! Through the tears

There’s a saying that reads: people may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Patsy Scott was one of those treasured souls

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If you’re around my age, you most likely remember the 80s sitcom Cheers. Centered around the bar’s owner and bartender Sam and the tavern’s many colourful staff and patrons, there was much comedy and joviality served up along with pints each and every week.

The main draw of the show, however, was the idea that going to a place where everybody knew your name was just a nice thing, and that Cheers was a special place to hang and spend some quality time.

Where ya ‘longs to

While many businesses throughout Newfoundland cling tightly to that homey feel, greeting regulars by name and grilling  strangers – in a jovial, kindly, where ya ‘longs to type of way until enough was known about them to write a few chapters in a book, or at least enough to scope them out later on Facebook  – in most businesses throughout the city’s core, customers remain nameless while faces swim in a sea of sameness.

It’s something easy to adjust to. Having lived in Ontario for 13-plus years, between Ottawa and Mississauga, that’s just how life goes. Moving back around the bay to an outport changed things, of course, and after the briefest readjustment, I again got used to everyone knowing not just my name, but the names – and whereabouts – of my youngsters as well as details about ancestors and remote relations, many I’d never met or heard tell of my own self.

Then it was back to city dwelling and I easily adapted to being a stranger once more, until I happened upon Patsy at the Starbucks on Stavanger. I think our first encounter was the drive–tru window. Somehow, she recognized my face from my head-shot in The Herald. ‘‘Pam!’’ she screamed. ‘‘How’s your dad making out?,” she asked, referencing a story I had written months prior. I replied to her query, but there were more questions, all clearly demonstrating she never missed a column. I was honoured, flattered and thrilled this stranger knew so much and cared enough to engage me in such a sweet manner while so very busy. I knew instantly I’d be back.

Much sweeter

I ran into Patsy often after that encounter, not only going back solo for a coffee and a yarn, but gleefully dragging along anyone and everyone up for a cup-a-coffee simply to get a dose of Patsy and to wallow in her cheerfulness. I also admit I liked showing off – just a little. Hey. Who could blame me?

It’s a super cool feeling to walk into a busy business on Stavanger Drive and experience your own; ‘Normmmmmmmm!’ moment, something made much sweeter when you had an audience, or a witness.

I soon learned Patsy and I grew up not far from one another. Our parents knew each other, plus we had attended the same schools, though I was a few years younger. Like myself, Patsy had a son she adored. She filled me in on little nuggets from his day-to-day life and she’d ask, always using his name, how my lad was making out. She also had a  granddaughter she treasured. We’d swapped little girl yarns and laugh and roll our eyes at some antic of theirs.

Warmness & enthusiasm

Patsy never forgot a thing: not a name, not a date, and not a whereabout. She always followed up on the latest and greatest since the last time we spoke, taking care to mention our last chat for reference. I soon learned I wasn’t the only one Patsy greeted with warmness and enthusiasm at both Starbucks and her other place of employment, Bellissimo Bistro & Espresso Bar.

I was sipping a coffee there one day when a tourist dropped in to see her before heading to the airport, just to say goodbye. That wasn’t a stand alone incident, either. Over and over I witnessed Patsy’s unique ability to never forget a face, a name, or an order. Like heading into the fictitious Cheers, it was a unique feeling to spend time and coin in a business where you felt like part of the family.

Well, Patsy isn’t around anymore. She was killed tragically at her home on December 21st. Her partner of 30 years is also no longer alive. I’m sure, dear readers, you can read between those tragic lines. There’s no judgment here, just sadness, knowing someone with the ability to spread so much joy and cheer to others is forever lost, though no doubt never, ever forgotten.

Kind & thoughtful

While Patsy always filled my cup  while also fueling my ego by making me feel as if I made her day just a little brighter just by showing up, I now see the truth. While I selfishly thought I was walking into a place where, at the very least, at least one somebody knew my name, truth was, Patsy made sure through her genuine and generous spirit, that absolutely everybody, and I mean everybody,  knew hers. I posted news of Patsy’s death on Facebook. I also mentioned where she had worked. In an instant, people messaged me, expressing how she had made them feel exactly the way she had always made me feel: special, wanted, and yes, loved and missed.

I visited the funeral home during her wake. It was sad. Seeing her smiling face in a snapshot next to her urn just didn’t seem right. I expressed my condolences to those who loved her most, shared some shocked hugs and words of disbelief with others who knew her as I did – as a ray of sunshine – I signed the guest book, and I left.

The day of her funeral I visited Patsy’s Starbucks location, thinking it would be nice to share a few memories with others who knew her, or just be in a place where I’d sense her presence. The store was closed, out of respect. Made sense. No doubt her coworkers had been crushed by the news of her death and wanted time to mourn one of their own, and for sure more than a few customers-turned-friends also felt the draw to attended her funeral.

A final thought

I drove on to the office, not bothering to make another coffee stop, for it wasn’t the caffeine I was craving that morning, it was Patsy’s company. For the times she gave so freely of that and so much more, I thank her from the bottom of my heart.

So Cheers to you, Patsy. Taking much liberty with the Cheers theme song, which wisely reminds us that making the way in the world these days takes everything we’ve got, here’s a final thought. May you now be in a place where you can take a break from all your own worries, and forever be content in knowing that few will ever forget your name, your smile, or how you made them feel.

19 thoughts on “Cheers! Through the tears

  1. Kim Scott
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    This is beautiful , i am sure her family will cherish for ever,, I an a some what relative to pasty down threw the line,, i have had many chats with her,, so sad this had to happen.. i hope her family finds comfort as the days go by.

    • Name: Kim Scott
    • Email: kimalexdevyn@yahoo.ca
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  2. Anonymous
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/3p2yc-scott-family-fundraiser

    • Name: Chelsea
    • Email: chelseapritchett@gmail.com
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  3. Bev morgan
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    I went to school with her older sister and patsy was always holding her hand. God bless her soul and may she Rest In Peace.

    • Name: Bev Morgan
    • Email: Bamfs@me.com
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  4. Anonymous
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    Pam that is a beautiful story, thank you for sharing. RIP Patsy.

    • Name: Rhonda Nugent
    • Email: Sisters_us4@yahoo.ca
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  5. Richard & Janet Budden
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    Myself and my wife Janet had the pleasure of meeting Patsy during our many meals at Billissimo Bistro over the last year. And as you eloquently stated she made you feel like you were home. A rare thing these days but Patsy ossed personality and genuinely got pleasure from seeing you come back. Even though we only knew her for a brief moment in time we will keep her forever in our thoughts.

    • Name: Richard & Janet Budden
    • Email: richardbudden@hotmail.com
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  6. Anonymous
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    This is a beautifully written article. I had never meet Patsy, but know others who sound like her. They have such a huge impact on other’s lives. She sounded like a wonderful person who will surely be missed. Maybe the biggest take away from it is to try to be more like her in our everyday lives. It can make such a difference in someone’s day.

    • Name: Jill
    • Email: Jillmbruce@gmail.com
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  7. Lynn
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    Such a heartwarming tribute to your friend…and from the sounds of it, she was everyone’s friend! So sad that someone with such joie du vive had such a tragic end. May your friend RIP.

    • Name: Lynn
    • Email: Lynnwad@gmail.com
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  8. Melissa Villeneuve
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    I use to work with patsy at canadin tire on kelsey dr I was a cashier there and she was a manager she was a type of person that you could go up to and ask what you have to ask knowing that she would not judge you for what you had to ask she always had a extra pip in her step also she always had a smile on her face no matter how busy or what was on the go she will be dearly missed

    • Name: Melissa Villeneuve
    • Email: Melissamarciavilleneuve@hotmail.com
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  9. sharon moores
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    Wow what a lovely thing to say.. she must have been quite a lady..

    • Name: sharon moores
    • Email: esharon1954@gmail.com
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  10. Don Feehan
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. As Pam says Patsy knew you and befriended you the first time you met. I myself worked shift work. On My way to work I would order an Americono. On the way home it would be a dark roast. Patsy would have my order started when she saw my truck pull into the parking lot. She knew everything.

    Patsy not only befriended me but also my family. She knew my daughter and her drink preference. She knew my mother and what she liked. My mother would make tea buns and bring them to patsy at the store.

    Patsy wasn’t an employee. Patsy wasn’t a barista. Patsy was and is a special lady who didn’t deserve her demise.

    Patsy Scott was always up for a story, a joke or whatever. If you walked into Stavanger Dr. And Patsy was on break sitting talking to her customers, she was always talking, and you said to her “ Patsy what about my coffee”. She would probably tell you “I’m on break. Get your own”. She was beautifully honest.

    I remember one morning I was a little later than normal going in for a coffee. When I reached the counter Patsy said to me “ Where have you been this morning”. I responded “Where have you been my life”. She laughed and was stuck for a word. It may have been the only time that lady was stuck for a word. Patsy always got the last word. At least at Starbucks.

    Rest In Peace lovely lady. You will be missed

    • Name: Don Feehan
    • Email: donfeehan@nf.sympatico.ca
    • : I give permissions to the Newfoundland Herald to use my comment in future publications
  11. Heidi Dawe
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    That is the most beautiful story and tribute to someone we ALL knew and loved. So true, we went there for a dose of Patsy more than a coffee. I have a beautiful picture of her and I as I picked up my mobile order one day because the order ticket said ‘chip addict’ and she it had to be for me! Always a smile and a laugh xoxo she will be missed.

    • Name: Heidi Dawe
    • Email: chefheidi@nl.rogers.com
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  12. Terri
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    Beautiful tribute … so sad that she is gone, but her memory and spirit will live forever

    • Name: Terri
    • Email: Girly_334@hotmail.com
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  13. Jennifer
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    I share your sentiments about Patsy. My husband and I were also regulars at Starbucks and she made us feel like family. I still am in shock about the tragedy that ended her life. Thank you for taking the time to immortalize her wonderful spirit in your story.

    • Name: Jennifer Fitzpatrick
    • Email: Pepperneo33@gmail.com
    • : I give permissions to the Newfoundland Herald to use my comment in future publications
  14. Donna Norcott
    January 14, 2020
    Reply

    Hi, I first met Patsy when I was 14 years old and I was going babysitting Matthew with my boyfriend at the time, her brother, Carl. I remember Patsy curling her hair and doing her makeup and I just sat there, thinking she was the prettiest and coolest girl ever! As well as the trademark Scott bright blue eyes, Patsy was always smiling and laughing at something or another; she was so good to people. As an adult, I rarely saw her but when I did, it was always a big smile and hug and a quick chat. The last time we chatted was last summer and she looked so happy. We planned to get together for a coffee date that never came unfortunately. I am comforted in knowing how damn happy she was that last time. I’ll always remember her smiling with those twinkling eyes.
    I also know the wonderful family she comes from and how deep this wound is. It will be tough to heal but with the support of family and friends, it eventually will and those beautiful memories of Patsy can’t ever be taken away. A beautiful guardian angel she is now and no more hurt or pain can come to her. I’ll always miss you, Pats.
    Love, Donna Lynn

    • Name: Donna Norcott
    • Email: donnanorcott@gmail.com
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  15. Anonymous
    January 15, 2020
    Reply

    What a beautiful tribute! Patsy and I share some beautiful stories of her granddaughter and I brought my little granddaughter regularly so Patsy could see her.
    Patsy if you are listening, thank you for listening, thank you for being you and thanks for the laughs! Just know, you will never be forgotten.

    • Name: Kathy Butler
    • Email: kathybutler@royallepage.ca
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  16. January 15, 2020
    Reply

    What a beautiful and thoughtful Tribute you have written about Patsy Scott. I did not know her, but all your words made me feel as if I’ve known her forever. She sounds like a very caring and loving woman whom everybody enjoyed her company. I’m sure she will be sorely missed and especially by you, as you both had become reacquainted from your years living close by each other. Thank you for that beautiful write up. it made my heart melt. I’m sure she will be sorely missed and especially by you. It is obvious That she meant quite a lot to you. May she rest in peace and hopefully she’s with the Angels.

    • Name: Jeannie hann
    • Email: Pittmj36@hotmail.com
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  17. Carl
    January 15, 2020
    Reply

    Thank- you so much Pam , I’m Patsy brother Carl . It’s was beautiful, it’s something that helps me deal with this , which I’m having a hard time doing . Me and my sister were close and I miss her so much

    • Name: Carl Scott
    • Email: Scottcarl6716@gmail.com
    • : I give permissions to the Newfoundland Herald to use my comment in future publications
  18. Frances
    January 15, 2020
    Reply

    This is such a beautiful story. Hugs xoxo

    • Name: Frances
    • Email: Twinkletoes709 @hotmail.com
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  19. Tina
    January 16, 2020
    Reply

    Easily the most well written article I’ve ever read. Patsy, too, was my barista. Such a sad story.

    • Name: Tina
    • Email: Tinabanfield1@gmail.com
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