Lyle's Blog

Speech, Scotch, and Stuff

Monday, March 21, 2011

The past two nights have found me wide awake in the middle of the night again. How frustrating that can be. The only difference in my routine that I can see was that I did not have an evening snack so tonight, I made myself a sandwich and here I am behind the keyboard, hoping that they will make me drowsy enough to get back to sleep. Monday is coming fast and has been by far my busiest day of the week so rest is needed.

I had an eventful weekend starting out with singing at another local restaurant. Not in what you might think. My buddy, Frank Patka, and I have over the years entertained people with funny songs on eventful days. We usually get together and rewrite various songs or write our own new song to help make the friend's day more.....fun. We even have named our group, the 'Oldganics'. We have done gigs in many of the restaurants in town and Friday, we met up at Izzy's to entertain our mutual buddy, Dave Perine, on his fiftieth birthday.

Another buddy, Mark, joined us as we met up at Jake's in the backroom and practiced our songs. I had gotten some ideas off of the web and my favorite was "Jello", to the tune of "Hello" by Neil Diamond. Since this was Dave's 50th birthday, you can imagine what the theme to our songs were. This particular song was of a man eating jello on the day before his colonoscopy. I know.....not your typical restaurant entertainment. But, the Oldganics are not your typical band either. Mark's wife, Carrie, video taped the event so I probably will put it up on utube. Actually, I do have an older version of us at Greg's Grill sometime in the last couple of years.

Upon returning to the diner, I found the girls busy so I stopped to help out, pouring coffee and busing tables. I was stopped by one woman who asked me about Phil. She was the nurse who was with him just before he passed away. She said she could tell he was special and that she heard that I had written a couple of stories on him and asked if I would share a bit with her as she wanted to know more about him. I copied off his obituary and a couple of stories and gave them to her. We discussed his last couple of days and I told her how he wanted us to trip up the nurses as they walked past his room just for fun. She laughed and said that he had asked her to slip under the sheets with him just the day before he went. Phil kept his humor all the way.

Saturday morning, I awoke with butterflies in my stomach. This was the day of Phil's funeral. Some of the brothers met at the diner and we all went over in a group. One of the guys was suppose to teach protocol to the brothers so that we could all be in sync when we saluted and such. When we got there and I asked him, he was reluctant, however so I was not sure what to do.

Another brother, Jerry, asked me minutes before the funeral why we had not gotten together and I told him we needed someone to lead us who knew protocol. He asked me if I would like him to and I said, 'Sure'. We called over the brothers and Jerry formed them into a group. That was when I learned that funny jovial Jerry was a Colonel in the Marines. That is one of the things that I like the most of that group. Officers and enlisted stand side by side as one. To one side of me was a retired Army officer and we were all surprised when Mike Genna showed up in his uniform as a retired Navy Commander. Mike jumped into formation with all of the rest of us and I think we looked rather good.

Jerry stood off to the side and directed us as a quasi military unit. We had a young lady sing 'God Bless America' and bag pipes play 'Amazing Grace'. Then, it was my turn to speak. I had gone over my speech a few times and felt pretty confident but when I stepped behind the mic, I looked out over the crowd and saw an old friend, Ron Mercinheimer, who I had not seen in some time. The sight of Ron brought Phil into my mind's eye and I could see him sitting out in the crowd watching and waiting for what I had to say. I know I stumbled a bit at first because of those visions but soon regained my focus and I believe got my point across. Then I slipped back into my line with the rest of my brothers and sent off our friend. I held it all well until taps. I could feel the tears flowing down my cheeks and could hear the sobs of others around me as we all tried to gather our composure.

After the funeral, we all met up at the VFW. Probably close to 130 to 140 people. We started the meal off with a shot of scotch. A tribute to our old buddy with his favorite drink. We were then entertained with videos of pictures of our old friend's life.

Now, scotch on an empty stomach is enough but add some extra time with the videos and my blood sugar began to drop. I did something that I normally would not do and shot to the front of the line for food to try and bring the sugar level up and bring myself back to normalcy. Jimmy did an outstanding job with the food with everyone enjoying their meal. By the time we left, I could feel my blood sugar getting back to more where it needed to be but was still feeling off from it all.

After dropping the others off at the diner, I went home and took a nap. Two hours later, I was awoken by the diner calling and went back down to help them out with dinner.

Sunday morning came and we had a pretty good breakfast. All the cogs seemed to be moving as they should which makes for a pretty good day. My job on days like that is just to go around and shore things up around the edges. Directing, bussing, pouring coffee, sorting out plates, and talking to customers makes the day go by pretty fast. And, on Sunday after the rush, I usually get caught up on any bill paying that has not been done for the week.

I got home after closing up to sit on the couch with Judy for an hour and rest up before heading out once more, this time to a little birthday dinner for Carrie. I let the kids pick what restaurant they want and she had picked Hola in the old mill district. Birthdays create a reason for a little family time and we enjoyed each others company and Carrie's day.

Closing down on Sunday afternoon was one of our better decisions. It gives us a much needed break and a stopping and starting point for the next week.

So, now we are off on our next week and our next adventure, spring break. If we get a good day, we might break away and take a drive with Jay and I have promised him some golf at Missing Link in Redmond so it looks like a pretty good week. That is if Mother Nature allows it.

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