Back in the Seventies, he spent a lot of time in the backroom of the National Press Club shooting stick and drinking Scotch. Most afternoons, there were a bunch of us — in those days lots of people worked in the morning and skated in the afternoon in Ottawa — and played pool, shuffle board and video games after our long lunches.
Jamie was a man of few words back then, a low-talker. But when he talked, he had much to say. He whispered in the ears of the great and powerful, and apparently was a great point man. Jamie was one of those guys who just gave off an air of importance.
I was just a silly little girl bouncing around the Press Club when Jamie and I became bar friends. I don’t think we ever had much to say to each other, but he’d always smile at me, say “hi Rosie” and buy me a beer.
And once, he got me out of a tight spot. It was Friday night and I was pretty lubed up when I dumped a beer over the head of my first husband’s mistress after the CP crowd — Glenn Sommerville to be exact — urged me on. It was one of those magic moments at the club when a feral cat was belled by a mouse, and I became a folk hero.
But I was in trouble; this kind of offence usually meant a suspension. Thankfully, Jamie whisked me out of there before the suits were aware that I had committed a sin. He got my coat, helped me into it and got me home with no one being the wiser.
The offending hoe wasn’t telling anybody. The CP crowd were mute on the subject. Denny the bartender just shook his head and laughed.
I had successfully committed a dump and run — thanks to Jamie.
The man knew timing.
Jamie Deacey took the cure a few years after that and I didn’t see him much. Sometimes, he’d resurface at the Press Club, a shadowy figure breaking bread with Don Newman in the corner. He’d become much more important in the years following the beer dump, but he was always kind to me.
And that’s saying something in Ottawa.
He was nice man at his core, sincere and never snooty.
Here’s to you, Jamie Deacey, one helluva guy.