Boston Lizz is not a subtle person by any stretch. But the things she says without saying them can be.
Few people would ever walk into Union Public House and see a sports bar: it has the right mix of upscale dining and a casually elegant bar that makes such a hit with the after-work crowd. But Boston Lizz has seen nothing but a sports bar since the day she walked in right when it was first opening, and she always will. In fact, just about anywhere she goes she sees through the lens of a die-hard sports fan, and anyone close enough to wind up in her orbit will see things that way too, whether they want to or not, if only for a little while.
Lizz lives about a mile down the road from the bar at a mobile park. The inside of her home is littered with New England Patriots and other Boston sports teams memorabilia, and when she’s at the bar she’s always in the right t-shirt for whatever team she’s there to cheer on. Often times beneath it she’ll wear another t-shirt that says Yankees Suck on it in big, bold letters, so she can shock strangers a little by pretending like she’s going to flash them while still getting the message out there.
“I moved out here about 30 years ago,” she says of her decision to leave New England and relocate to the desert. “And then we started winning, so I can’t move back now. I don’t want to break the streak.”
The bar staff at Union has gotten used to having Lizz as a regular fixture, and despite her over-the-top exuberance for sports and loud antics they generally greet her warmly with a smile. She often insists that every TV within her line of sight be turned to the game she’s watching, and is constantly asking for more volume which they politely oblige when they have a free moment. She’s there every weekend during football season, and on spotty occasions during the rest of the year, usually riding her electric bike up to the bar to meet with friends and watch some random game, and catch up with her favorite girls at the bar.
“Now that my hip is feeling better,” she said of her recent hip replacement, “I’m going to really get in shape, bondo up and sand blast my face a bit and get out there with some of the girls and go chase down some hot young college guys. Ha!”
Her electric bike was a gift from a wealthy friend in Florida, and though she lives alone with her cats she has a smattering of friends that seems to be spread around the country who appreciate the super charged spirit she brings to the table. But she draws a strict line between gifts and charity, and insists on paying back anyone who is willing to spot her on her bill if she is short on cash that day, even if it’s just a couple bucks.
“I live off of social security and my disability,” she explains. “I used to be a cop back east, but that was a long time ago. Then I got injured and moved out here. I go back home every once in a blue moon, just to see folks and recharge the accent a bit, but not too often.” But that’s about the extent that she’ll offer up about her career in law enforcement.
Her talk about home is usually reserved for crazy and sometimes unbelievable anecdotes from her 20’s, with her and her friends and running around the city, partying with some famed sports stars of Boston lore, or out on boats somewhere, partying with guys who always seem to be able to get her tickets to the games. She sometimes will talk about her family, who is much more conservative and she has drifted away from in values during the years.
“They didn’t like the fact that I’d bring home black friends in high school,” she says. The town I grew up in was a very country club, rich BS type of place, and it was nice but people could be real assholes. I don’t care who you are, or what color your skin is, in my book if you are pahtying then you’re pahtying.”
Despite a dispute about inheritance after her parents passed away, she still maintains a cordial relationship with her remaining siblings. Ashe claims to have been denied what was rightfully left to her when she was out west and the will was executed back east without including her. They also have wildly different political persuasions, a topic she is careful to avoid when they talk on the phone every couple weeks, especially in recent years. But if there is any lingering resentment over the financial dispute, then it isn’t betrayed in her voice when she talks about it.
“Money is only money,” she says, smiling broadly at the bar, with the din of the football game and the barroom clatter in the background. “And that shit ain’t worth carrying. I got everything I need right here - good people, and good sports. There’s a lot of miscreants out there, but I ain’t one of them. I do right by other people, that’s what counts in the log run.”
“Besides,” she continues, now a lot louder and pointing to Tom Brady on the TV screen. “That’s my future ex-husband up there, so it’s all good! Melissa hon, you’re frickin’ gorgeous, can you get me another bass please, and here, let me make it rain for you a bit!” Then she shoots a short stack of dollar bills up in the air, one by one, which fall clumsily behind the bar as the bartender brings her another beer.