Farewell to a Friend
Gregarious – especially with a drink or five (which was most days) , Bear-like in width (if not height),a voice heavily accented, clever, amusing, a great cook , generous and good company. But, like all of us, he had dark side. At times a royal pain in the ass, at others crass and grumpy. The next door neighbour’ spitting habits drove him mad and made him a bore. His, insistence on driving when he’d imbibed way too much alcohol made declining the offer of a lift a choice for life
Whether you loved him, disliked him or were frustrated and maddened by him, there is one thing we can all agree on and that is that he was a convivial host and threw dammed good dinner parties. One knew one was in favour when one was invited to his house for a social gathering. The events were made memorable by the cuisine, repartee and the copious amounts of alcohol consumed.
He once said of himself, that if there was once word that summed him up it was “epicurean” I agree. He enjoyed drink, food and women, sampled them all in excess and for his indulgences often ended up in hot water. As a consequence there are many entertaining stories circulating about this man but the one I like most is the one that he told me himself. .
One of his great great great (not sure how many greats but you get the gist) grandfathers was a carpenter and worked for a count who owned a palatial residence. One of the Count’s acquaintances was the renowned Casanova. It was a time when the great lover’s youth had passed by and his health was declining. He came, at invitation of the Count, to live out the rest of his days at the castle. He was employed to teach the Count’s daughters (what kind of tutorials he gave? We can only speculate). Casanova, now impoverished, arrived with his own furniture and set up home in the small apartment allocated to him . Along with his luggage was a favoured sofa which he’d dallied on with the ladies. Eventually Casanova passed away as did the count. My friend’s relative, being a trusted and valued employee was told he could take something from the castle as a momento of his employer. He chose the sofa. I don’t know whether the family still owns the piece, but my friend claimed that he’d seen it. Is the story true – who knows, after all I’m talking about a man who loved to tell a good tale. I hope it is because when I think of this story I am reminded of my friend who passed away last weekend. Like Casanova, he was something of a rouge and maverick but to me, he was always kind and considerate. I hope your chasing angels somewhere. my friend.