Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oh, George

I've spoken of George a few times in this blog.  Brash, loud, foul mouthed, Italian.  In his eighties, but still lifting weights and going for runs, at least until the last couple of years.  He was one of the attendees of my mother-in-law's monthly Saturday night gatherings.  That bunch was colorful, even before the wine was poured.  Remember Harry? He was also a regular.  I wrote about him even more frequently.  If you've been following my writings for a while you might recall that he passed away nearly five years ago.  My step father in law, co-ringleader of the soirees, passed away in 2015.  On Jan. 2nd of this year, it was George's turn.

I thought he would've left us sooner.  He drank excessively, right up to the last time I saw him, in Jan. 2016, at one final party that turned ugly as we stopped his bartender service early.  George was becoming a hazard, a supremely unpredictable guest who was causing great discomfort and embarrassment.  I met him in 2001, soon after I began dating my future wife.  I attended the Saturday parties and watched the circus with great interest.  Harry with his jug of Gallo, singing in French.  Molly with her biting, often unbearably funny and snobby digs.  Angela, a former model, telling fascinating tales of '60s and '70s era NYC.  Debra, George's much younger wife, laughing continuously and running outside for a smoke every fifteen minutes or so.  George would always, from the earliest days, pepper his dialogue with expletives, much to the chagrin of my MIL.  But in recent years, George became the dreaded mean drunk.  His words were getting harsher, as was his tone.

One time, George went too far and insulted MIL, prompting her to fling a glass of red wine on his white Polo shirt.  He got up and chased her around the house.  A bad scene.  It was about a year before George would talk to her again.  Poor Debra, a woman with whom my MIL had worked in Palm Beach retail for many years, was caught in the middle.  She did not drive, so she was unable to socialize with us without her husband.  Begrudgingly, George eventually sort of apologized and he was invited to more, but infrequent, gatherings.  He was never the same.  One time I had to argue with him for his car keys.

But George and I always got along.  I wish I could've known him in the earlier days, represented by the above and below photos.  That bottom one was shot during his stint as a Marlboro Man.  No kidding.

George always commented on my weight loss or gain, depending on the year.  I encouraged his rowdiness to some degree, usually regretting it.  I really miss the guy.  I feel doubly awful that I missed his memorial - not a funeral, or a wake.  He wanted those left behind to have a dinner party at a local restaurant.  It was on a Sunday afternoon, the one when a flu began to take hold on me.  It was a really nasty one this year.  I just couldn't make it.  Sorry, George.  I'm sure you'd understand.  May God have mercy on your soul.

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