So I get a call from my friend Dave. He tells me that he got a call from Rick.
"Yeah hi. I got a call from Rick. You know what that means. Somebody died.
Well without writing down the whole conversation, it turns out the dad of a mutual friend of ours had passed. It was our friend Jim's dad. Jim was part of our little gang in the '70s. Jim then moved to Cape Cod. I stayed in touch with him and made frequent trips down on Saturday nights so we could partake in our love of fishing. Fresh water fishing. There are many lakes and ponds on Cape Cod. This went on for most of the 80's. Then as often happens in life, you and others take different roads for different reasons. I hadn't seen Jim since 1989. I'm not really sure what happened back then. Nothing sinister. I think for me it was probably a woman. Hey it happens.
Any way, a good chunk of the old crowd showed up at funeral parlor. Jim looked great though I suspect he dyes his hair. I didn't say anything about it though when one of his sisters said to me, "You look the same!" I told her, "Yes except I died my hair grey." I think she got my reference, at least that's what her smile told me. We used to have a few laughs way back then.
Two people from the gang was missing. One passed a few months ago, the other now lives in California. We started bringing up the old stories again. We mostly hung around Lenny's cellar The crazy foam party, the silly string party. The game of hide and seek at midnight in Richie's cellar when Dave stepped on a pipe coming out of the oil tank trying to get out the window and flooding the cellar with heating oil. I bolted out the door and went around the corner home. The night we put cinder blocks behind Lenny's rear tires. Another brilliant idea! He got in his car and couldn't understand why he couldn't back out of his driveway. He never got out of his car to investigate as we had surmised. Instead he floored it. BABAM! The rear tires caught and over the blocks he went. We watch from Dave's driveway. Hearing Lenny swearing as he suspected who was responsible. We could hardly contain ourselves. Hey, it was funny at the time.
We were actually a pretty harmless bunch and I give credit to Lenny's parents for letting us hang around down the cellar. They never bothered us despite some of the shenanigans. Usually we were just playing records, whist or pool. Oh I will admit there was some drinking and maybe a couple of illicit substances from time to time. Hey it was the 70's. One of the funniest times was down Richie's cellar. Richie and his mother rented an apartment and the landlord was not particularly thrilled with us hanging around, particularly after the oil incident. There were five or six of us, not really doing anything except playing a record, not loud and maybe we had some beer. We were essentially just sitting there. Richie was sitting with his back to the stairs that led down to the cellar. His landlord came down and started yelling at him about us hanging around. "I told you I didn't want you guys hanging around here!!!" He finishes yelling and begins to make his way back up stairs. You could still see his legs going up. Richie is about 3 to 4 feet away from him and he says, and I'm not going to disguise the word because it is essential, "What an asshole!"
Of course the landlord heard him clearly and screamed, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?!!!"
Richie, being the silver tongued that he is replied, "I didn't mean it the way it sounded."
Oh what did you mean Richie. He's a wonderful asshole?
We could hardly contain ourselves from busting a gut suppressing our laughter.
I won't even mention the night of the ghost stories when Dave rigged the cellar door with a rope. We were all in on it except Richie. As the stories went on, Dave would tug on the rope and the open door would lightly tap against the frame. Richie was getting more and more spooked. Dave then gives the door a good yank. SLAM! Richie took off like he had a missile up his butt. Well I guess I did mention it.
Richie hasn't changed much, well a little. At the wake an attractive young lady just happened to glance past our little group. And Richie said to Rick, "Did you see her look at me? I think she's interested".
"Why would a 22 year old girl be interested in you?!! You've got no hair You've got no teeth and you've got no money!" We all laughed.
It may have been 40 years but not that much has changed.
Now I know a wake really is a solemn occasion. I knew Jim's dad. He was a good guy and was always nice to me. I hadn't seen him since around 1971. Children are supposed to outlive their parents His dad was 85. Not a bad run but he was sick. Yet as happens at these occasions, people who haven't seen each other for years got back together and relive old times. There was laughter everywhere. It wasn't just our little group.
Well I hope when I go I hope my remaining friends and family get together. Celebrate the fun and the laughs and the good times. So wake me when it's over.
I'm outta here.