The man with the beer gut, and the aviator glasses always leaned in a little too close. His breath smelled like cigarettes, and he told bad, jokes. Yeah, sure the jokes were funny, but they were bad, truly bad. When he laughed, he laughed raucously and loud, and I could see the gold crowns glinting in the back of his mouth. The way back.
He was old... easily 40 years old, maybe more. Sheesh, parent's friends.
________________________ 10 years.
The man with the beer gut was back, more gut, less hair. But the jokes were the same. Still bad, and less funny. But his laugh was contagious, and I laughed along, almost unwillingly. He slapped me on the back (owch, too hard). , and told my father that he had a nice young man for a son. Almost like-able. In fact dad seems to like him and dad is a pretty good judge of character. And yet, somehow, he's endearing... for an old dude.
________________________ another ten years.
And there he is again, coming through the crowd, with laser-like focus right toward me. More bad jokes, more back slapping... a few new jokes, but still bad. The gut is smaller, and his red hair has grayed a bit, and moved further back on his scalp. Wow, that's a lot of forehead. The laugh is still just as loud and raucous. Dad laughs along with him. I kinda like him.. he doesn't look through me, like most of my parent's friends. He doesn't talk down.
________________________ only five years
This time, the loud red haired guy with the jokes isn't there. Dad says he's home sick. Phew, dodged a bullet there.
________________________ a few more years
Okay, I was too lucky... he's back, but he's finally lost a little weight, and the gut seems gone, and he's wearing a beret. Seriously, a beret? Who wears a beret? I mean dad has gone through his cowboy hat phase, and then his captain's hat phase, as he's aged.. but a beret??He's still telling all those jokes... with a vengeance. Everyone is laughing, but his wife seems overly quiet. Maybe she's tired of all those questions.
You know.. he's getting a little funnier... and dad seems to really like him.
________________________ and another few years
Dads long gone, and I haven't seen the man in the beret for years. I only had to tolerate him for dad... he was dad's friend.
I learned that beret-dude passed away yesterday, after fighting years of all sorts of narsty... you've heard the words that represent those narsties. He told the doctor to withhold any treatments.
Man, that's a bad joke, and it's not funny. I phoned mom to let her know... she cried.
Jack Age 80, of Chicago, beloved husband for 54 years; loving father; extraordinary grandpa and brother; dear brother-in-law; treasured uncle, cousin and friend of many. Service Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. Interment Shalom Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers......
that's not funny!