"you know what?!", said Joe, 'lim gonna tell you the secret. I'm gonna tell you the secret of how to drink at a work party."
"what you do I order a scotch and watah, and throughout the night you keep refilling the watah. the drink will stay looking like scotch and watah and you'll look like the hardest man in the room because you've been drinkin' scotch all night"
Joe was a lawyer.
Joe was in the corps.
Joe was always quick to tell you a good story, or cut you down because he thinks you put on a little over the year.
Joe was also my great uncle.
and Joe knew how to make one hell of a martini or so he'd tell you.
he'd tell you he'd make a double when he'd get home from work and he'd get comfortable for the night.
and that's how I'd like to think how it happened last night.
he made a martini. maybe a double. and he sat in his favorite chair, one last time.
got comfortable in his favorite chair and closed his eyes and slipped away.
here's my fondest memory of Joe. during my divorce, I took the railroad home to my parents house. and Joe coincidentally took the same train home only I didn't know it until that night.
at that time.
and there he was in the front car with 4 or 5 of his coworkers, owning the conversation, these younger folks hanging on joe's every word as he gestured wildly his eyes wide open. he was positively electric.
and then the train pulled away in to night.
and I went home to sit in the basement.
i come from a large family.
we are fucking legion.
and I don't see any of them nearly often enough but when I did I loved seeing Joe and his wife Martha who was my favorite smoking buddy. but now family gatherings will be different out east. and it saddens me tonight.
funny thing though, the bastard was at a 40th birthday party last night and I was poured a glass of scotch on a pile of ice and thought of him briefly, hours before I got the call.