There was a popular comic strip so way back when called "Bringing Up Father."
Created by George McManus, it chronicled the life and times of a fellah named Jiggs, an Irish guy from the streets, whose life changed quickly when he won a million bucks in the Irish Sweepstakes.
Even though Jiggs became richer than Roosevelt, he still wanted to hang out with his pre-nouveau-riche friends, including Dinty Moore (yes, as in the stew), the owner of Jiggs' favorite tavern. This type of behavior did not sit well with Jigg's wife Maggie, who was constantly after Jiggs to act more "refined."
Jiggs also had a brother-in-law named Bimmy, who was a bit of a bum. The only time he stood upright was to head to the kitchen or the pub. But Maggie and Jiggs supported Bimmy's appetites, as Bimmy always added such comedy to the story line.
My father, Frank J., called you "Bimmy". After all, you were his brother-in-law, and one of his favorite people in this universe. You met at Fordham. Frank J. introduced you to his sister, our beloved Aunt Cookie. Bimmy and Cookie remained married for 50+ years.
You were never a layabout, but our hard-working favorite uncle, the one who would pile 20 kids - related or not - into a station wagon, careening dramatically around corners while yelling "wheeeeeeeeeeeee" out the window, hell-bent on reaching the nearest ice cream shop before we all starved to death.
The man who would try to escape for a nap in a hammock at clan gatherings, only to have a pig pile of kids jump on top of him, so many that the hammock gave way, with all humanity landing in a heap on the ground.
You loved Labrador Retrievers and circus peanuts, your children and refreshed kitchen floors, your wife and the New York Giants. Singing Irish songs and Dunkin Donuts coffee. And you never bought a un-used car in your life.
And you were my godfather. I still have a photo of you holding me in my christening gown, looking down at me as if I was the most special creature on earth. There wasn't a time in my life when I couldn't wait to see you.
And a storyteller...one of the best I have ever known. Listening to you and my father talk together at the kitchen table late in the evenings when our families would merge was writer's tutelage for me. A beginning, a middle, and an end. Timing is everything. Keep them laughing despite life's foibles...jobs, kids, elderly parents, and mother-in-laws.
I learned of your passing yesterday via modern technology. My niece Emma texted me a message, "You have to call Mom RIGHT NOW!" When I heard my sister's tearful voice, I knew we had lost a good one.
And you were one of those, Bimmy. No question.