Although we only knew each other for thirty years, it may as well have been a lifetime.
You were the “wingman”. The nightclubbing partner I needed in our heyday of the 80s. Chasing skirts late into the night. You had a little bit of a wild child attitude in you, but our Roman Catholic upbringings steered us clear of any real trouble.
How many games did we go to at the old Yankee Stadium? Watching our pinstriped heroes play sport’s finest game, drinking our beers, our seats at the rail to spy the girls in their summer clothes, passing us by.
We haunted each others work places, me making the descent into the college rathskeller, you sitting at the bar of my parents’ restaurant. We had our drinks, smoked our cigarettes, and laughed long and uproariously at our jokes. God knows we weren’t that funny.
When I started dating the girl who would become my wife, not much changed. Still hanging out, three of us together now, in the restaurants, our places, in the smoky nooks of the Tap Room. Home away from home.
When my daughter was born, you were right there at the hospital to see her, just a couple of hours later. It’s a shame you won’t be here to hug her anymore.
On the winter day my son was baptized, you stood at the font as his Godfather, blessing him with holy water as we watched. I’m glad you were able to come to some of his games. I’m sad you won’t ever watch him swing the bat again.
You gave the finest best man toast in wedding history, deserving of the standing ovation you got. Against the backdrop of the story of first meeting my wife, you serenaded us (and a large reception crowd) with a favorite Sinatra song – on key, flawlessly, without hesitation.
When I watch it on video, I just laugh and shake my head, and wonder… how the hell did you pull that off?
How about hitting that replay button one more time? A little more “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. Or better yet, how about just one more for the road? A toast to you this time, my friend, listening to the ultimate late night Sinatra torch ballad, with drink in hand. Just like we did in the old days.
You know how it goes…
Its quarter to three,
There’s no one in the place ‘cept you and me
So set em up Joe
…We’re drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road
Thanks for the memories.
Thank you for being my friend.
Michael Muscatello, 1949-2012