Monday, November 10, 2008

Remembrance

November 11. A day for remembering.

Veterans Day in the United States, Armistice Day in France, Remembrance Day in parts of the British Commonwealth. A day set aside to remember those who gave their lives in war, especially the war to end all wars, World War I.

November 11, 1918 was the day that World War I ended. But that is not the November 11 on my mind.

On November 11 I will set aside a moment of the day to remember my friend, Larry, who died November 11, 1999 at the much-too-young age of 41. I won't dwell on his professional accomplishments, which were many. I won't dwell on his love for this city, which was deep. I will remember him as a friend.

I will remember him at the picnics on the lawn at Opera Theatre, entertaining us with made-up synopses of the operas while we ate extra rich chocolate brownies and drank wine.

I will remember him at the race track where we placed our measly little $2 bets and cheered as though we had placed $200,000 bets, as we sat in lawn chairs in the cheap section with the people who had no business being at the track

I will remember him at Bar Italia (the old Bar Italia) where we were celebrating a birthday dinner for friends with lots of bottles of Italian wine and protesting that we couldn't possibly drink any more as the owner of the restaurant insisted on opening the special bottle of Limoncello to share a toast with us after dinner.

I will remember him at our 12th Night Celebration, the year that Barry fixed the 12 course feast that still ranks as one of the best meals of my life.

I will remember him in London standing on the platform of the Tube with the look of horror on his face as the doors of the train slid shut with all of us except him on the inside of the train. Perhaps I might even remember him explaining how the pigeons in Trafalgar Square rose up in a great cloud and showered bird poop down on him - and that was why he was late meeting the rest of us. :)

I will remember him in Paris, at the top of the Eiffel Tower at dusk watching the lights of the city come on as a giant thunderstorm rolled toward us.

And I will remember him, as I remembered him last Tuesday, as he was in November, 1992. Us gathered around the television in his condo, watching the the election returns come in, barely believing that Clinton had won and suddenly all of us piled in cars heading toward Union Station and the big Democratic Victory Party.

Mostly I will just remember ... him.