Friday, November 22, 2013


Keon Ioannou almost certainly would not have known my name.

He might or might not have remembered that we ever met, or that he'd seen me around the bar of his restaurant.

We weren't friends, though we had friends in common.

His brother Steve is almost a friend, I think — he's a hell of a bartender, and we've shared both conversation and laughter, and he definitely knows my name, though if he thinks of me at all it's probably to wonder why I haven't been in in a while — and it would shock me a little to know he thinks of me that much. He might still know my food order, though my drink order changes frequently enough that he can't be expected to retain that, even if he is my favorite bartender in town.

Between the two of them, though, these things were true:

  • They have a real lot of real friends, much realer than I, and
  • They made my go-to spot in Keene my go-to spot in Keene.
Tony Clamato's is not the fanciest place in town, or the cheapest, but it has (had?) solid food, thanks to Keon, and an atmosphere I really enjoy, thanks to them both. It was the closest thing I had in New Hampshire to an Iota. It's welcoming and pleasant and kind of dark, and though there's not generally live music, the piped-in stuff is better than you expect to hear in the background of a bar.

People in Keene know this already, because it's all we've talked about for a few weeks, but Keon was not a big enough deal for national headlines: He was biking home from work when he was struck by a car and killed November 2. The driver kept going, made no attempt to slow down before or after, apparently. The person who's been arrested in connection with his death is a waitress from the restaurant, who lived with Keon, along with her two children. I'm deliberately being a little vague here because I have been burned on believing I knew the facts before I did, and because I believe in our whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing, even if you wouldn't always know it to hear me talk out loud.

But regardless of the rest of the facts, Keon is gone and will be sorely missed in this community. If you are looking, as I was, for a way to help his family, help care for his dogs, help do good works in his honor later, there's an indiegogo for that.

Day 22 of our month of gratitude: I am thankful for people who make homes for strangers, and for people whose loving natures touch people whose names they would not reasonably remember.

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