I cannot yet speak of you in the third person, as if you are not here. When are any of us really ready to do that, with the people we love?
But I know I must. And I know you will understand.
You know what I liked about you? You, a writer, born in NYC, had the humor and storytelling gifts to prove it. And you married one of my best friends, Phyll, as you knew she would always keep you laughing.
You loved your wife, and your kids. And their kids. You also liked your work, and your dog. You had the courage and smarts to take on The New York Times Crossword Puzzle in INK.
I am not worthy.
You, a New Yawk-ah, were a man with a job that brought you status, but that is not who you were. I will remember you as song. There was a dinner at my apartment way back when, and, as usual, I bought out the guitar after we had all eaten, and you sat on a stark wooden piano bench next to me, and we sang:
"Does your mother know you're out, Cecilia?
And does she know that I'm about to steal ya ..."
I liked your simplicity. People with natural class don't need stuff or status or things that are unimportant.
You sat on that bench, and sang. I watched you, and knew you were happy in your life.
I think of your sons, Brian and Richard. I know they miss you terribly. And you know why they do? It is because they enjoyed your company. That is a fact. They liked their father, as well as loved him.
Good for you, Earl.