Friday, January 8, 2010

on the anniversary of my brother's death

 Over the course of many years, the Harmons and the Greenes had dinner together. In Columbus, on Sanibel and on Longboat Key. It was always a pleasant and fun evening.  Fancy didn't impress us, but we did enjoy the food and the ambience of upscale restaurants. After Bob died, Sue and Al  invited me to dinner, often, and they even allowed me to take them a few times.

I  have  had my lucky fill of white table cloths and gourmet food. I look back on those with pleasure, knowing that my out-to-dinner days are over, but remembering, too, that my last best meals were at the Hickory House.

Definitely not a white table- cloth place, but five star ribs . We liked the nice, ordinary aura of small town Reynoldsburg and the very smokey bar where we sat on high stools to have our drink, waiting for our table number to be called. Sue was a good sport when she came with us; she hasn't eaten meat in thirty years. She settled for a shrimp cocktail and potato skins.

 Evenings when she was busy elsewhere, Al would come pick me up and we knew, without even considering an alternative, we would head to the “Hick House”.  In the early years, we both drank Vodka; I had to trade-down to wine ( my coumaden dosage, my pacemaker). A short time later, Al had to do the same ( his back operations, the pain, the oxycontin).

 We didn't need to see the menu to order the half slab of ribs, well- browned home fries and apple sauce. Al was always so patient with the young girl at the podium, so pleasant to the waitresses, complimentary to the manager. Going there for lunch a few months after Al's death, the manager told me how sorry he was to read of my brother's passing. Al, from among a really large clientele , was memorable here, like everywhere, because in every encounter, he paid kind attention.

  It was a truly grand evening.  Our conversations were interesting, topical , political and personal;  we each had much to share.  No disagreements ever; no disagreements ever in our life.  Al's children now say that he was different when he was with me; he was like a little boy again, just happy and comfortable, with his blue eyes sparkling, a Paul Newman look-alike.  I probably was different, too. In our eighties, we were, once again, the two little Harmon kids, running through the sprinkler in the back yard on Franklin Avenue.

Rest in peace, Al. We are doing well,really well,   but, oh, how we miss you. 

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