Time passes quickly we say. Or, time is dragging. Once I made a list of all the expressions about time.... here are a few:
a moment in time
time drags on
take your time
your timing is off
what time is it?
what time do we have to leave?
time stands still
there'll be no next time
Okay, okay. That last one is a great line from a Louis Prima tune. Still, great line about time.
In any case, and though I'd been told, and even believed it, it was a surprise. From thirty to late 50s goes pretty fast - or so it now seems. And if you are very, very lucky, during that long or short, fast or slow time, you will make some great memories. Better yet, you'll make memories with people who my Japanese friends would say have 'same heart'. Meaning a sensibility, a personality, values and morals, humor and tastes that are similar but also ones who inspire growth, so you stretch yourself, while making memories during the time you spend together.
We lost a gift in this world. We lost George. From somewhere in or near Rupert, Idaho - google it. Man, it looks like hell! But so does Bakersfield to some, yet it holds a gem: the Noriega. Which George, whose real name is Robert, and I don't know why we call him by his middle name, but we do, told us about - and hot damn! He was spot on: ambience, quality, price, the REAL deal. You can google it, too, and see that it won the prestigious James Beard award last year. A sweet story in the New York Times tells all, right here.
But it's only partly about Noriega. It includes shutters, squares of scotch, music, excellent food, jazz shrines, all the handles falling off, humor, a banjo or two, a guitar or two, Clancy Hayes, kindness, a bit of cranky-pants, decency, Black Diamonds, loyalty, legacy, kindness, friendship, integrity, and helping me to learn to walk again. And THAT'S only part of it, too.
There's a boundless release in his passing, a lightness of freedom, but he's not 'at rest', not 'at peace' in that stoic gravely sense. Too playful for that. So I'll have to search for the right word.
He left this world yesterday, wee morning hours. We planned to drive the 90 miles to see him one more time - but by the time my feet hit the floor, I knew he was gone. Oddly, I was right: the call came 42 minutes later.
So I'm going to talk about George, my dear forever friend, out loud, right here. He was a great conversationalist, a compassionate spirit, and a fiery pistol, too. Here he is, in a photo that I feel like was taken maybe two minutes ago. Bill saw the photo and said, "Oh, you should title that 'Have You Ever Felt That Way' because that's exactly how he looked when he sang that." And I sure loved to hear him sing that tune. I also loved 'Waitin' For The Evenin' Mail'.
So George, here's a piece of evening mail. More will follow. I just can't play the music at the moment, but in time, I'll put the CD in and let it roll. Promise, that.
Dang if I don't miss him already.