EVERETT – Deek Slovek missed Christmas last year.
Everett’s man said he lived alone and didn’t watch TV, so the day passed without him realizing it.
“I was like ‘you know for Christmas I’m going to do this …’ then I realized Christmas was yesterday,” he said. “I was hiding from COVID and everything, you know? ”
This year, Slovek, 67, hasn’t let the holidays go without meeting up with friends in downtown Everett. He was one of dozens of locals who celebrated Christmas Eve in town.
Slovek and four friends spent the Friday afternoon at their favorite bar, Brews Almighty. Friends laughed at each other’s beer jokes and talked about the countries they dream of visiting.
Across from Slovek, his friend Roland made steady progress on a crossword puzzle from Friday’s edition of the Daily Herald. And below Slovek, his well-behaved dog, Betsy, was gnawing at a bone.
11-year-old Betsy is a mixed greyhound. That’s about all Slovek knows about her, he says.
“She’s a rescue,” Slovek said. “Most of us here are rescues.”
Slovek said he and his friends love Brews Almighty because of the welcoming atmosphere and the friendly owner Joe Kutz.
“Over here if you find someone who loves you that’s great,” Slovek said. “Once you find a place to relax and like people, you tend to go back. ”
A few blocks away, old friends celebrated Christmas Eve with nine-ball games at their favorite Everett hangout, the Soundview Tavern.
The Allman Brothers Band’s “One Way Out” sounded from the jukebox as a bartender handed Sean Jon a glass of bourbon. Everett’s man returned to the pool tables, holding a cue in one hand and the blow in the other.
Jon, 60, said the Soundview felt right at home for him and other Everett residents born and raised.
“It’s a family of workers who have always known each other,” he said, walking around the bar. One of the friends present that day was Kevin Larson.
Larson said he was an Everett resident born and raised from the third generation. He said he started playing pool as a boy when he was 12.
When asked what the secret of the pool was, Larson replied that it was all about Q-ball control.
“Where will Whitey end up?” All good players know where this Q-ball is going to end up when they’re done, ”said Larson.
Across the bar, Jamie Berg, 60, sat sipping a cocktail and chatting with a friend and her favorite bartender, Susan. Berg said the Soundview community reminded him of his old home in West Seattle.
“It’s like ‘Roadhouse’ here,” Berg said. “You have homeless people and millionaires, and they all interact and get along well. No matter who you are, you will be part of the crowd.
Berg said there had been years in the past that she wasn’t a fan of Christmas, but this year was different.
“There seems to be a little more magic in the atmosphere,” she said.