Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's OK to "look sharp"....

This happens to be a Cedar-planked salmon brought to my table while still flaming.

The plank was burning and the fish was delicious.

I was in Cheyenne, Wyoming and worried that my choices for seafood would be limited to local trout.

Not a bad meal but I saw this on the menu and chose this instead.

Chile was where this came from and it was prepared great on a cold and blustery night.

My younger brother and I had made a hasty flight to Wyoming to say goodbye to our older brother who had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease. He was at home with Hospice.

He was aware we were there and I saw he was surrounded by family and love. I am happy for that!

He passed peacefully on Tuesday morning.

In his honor, that afternoon I stopped by a saloon next to the downtown historic train depot and had a beer in his name.

I asked the bartender what it meant on the napkin that this was also a "Liquormart?"

The obvious answer was you could step into another part of the room and buy bottled spirits to go.

No, there were no big red dots on the front of the building.

Just a snug bar, a few afternoon workmen in heavy overalls taking a break and plenty of empty tables and chairs awaiting the dinner crowd.

We had flown into Denver on Saturday and rented a car to drive the hundred or so miles up to the Wyoming Capital city. It was snowing lightly but the roads were salted and plowed so no problem.

I have written before about my older brother Jerry, although his friends and family up here knew him as Virgil.

Our Dad was Virgil Gerald Boyd and his first son was a Junior.

The Boyd Brothers ran all around Charleston growing up.

Well, all around Ansonborough.

Kids played pretty close to home back then, usually in the neighborhood, so we could hear when we were called in for supper.

In those days, my older brother was also my taller brother  but it wasn't long after I entered my teens, he became just older, not taller.

Even my younger brother surpassed Jerry in height.

Poor guy!

Let's just say he never had to duck his head when coming through a doorway.

I don't really recall the WWII war years but apparently Mom would take her two boys for a walk up the few blocks from Society Street to Marion Square.

Maybe it was still the Citadel in the 1940s? I'll have to look that up.

I guess my Dad was taking the picture and I look like the attentive photographer I would become in the future.

At least he followed the Eastman Kodak suggestion that you stand with the sun shining over your right shoulder.

We were not squinting so, all in all, Dad, I approve this picture.

I'm guessing he did not say "Smile."

And, yes, my right hand IS clinging to my Mom's dress.

Taller brother is keeping an alert eye.

I was able to meet his extended family as they popped in and out and see the love and care they had for my brother.

His daughter was being assisted by Hospice and they delivered what was promised: peace, comfort and dignity for the patient.

Quietly in the background, they attended to his needs.

They kept him as alert as possible while adding moral and spiritual support to the entire family.

Most importantly, we were able to look at pictures and videos that showed how healthy, happy and active he had been.

Several years before, his daughter had suggested he move up to Wyoming and be embraced by family. He quickly  made friends and a church connection.

He was re-married the end of September and looked forward to a nice, comfortable life but medical problems arose and accelerated his decline.

The house was filled with an array of babies!

New life being celebrated and his pastor was there to comfort his soul.

My younger brother and I are pleased we got the timing right and were able to communicate - mainly through our talking and mutual hand squeezes - that he knew we were there for him.

I hope he knows I still looked up to him even after I grew taller.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Oh, the headline! We drove back to Denver after his passing and ate at Timberline Steak House, near Gate 39C at the airport. Because of the cute name, I had the Mile High Club sandwich and my brother ordered a thick steak.

Looked great but he was having a problem cutting it with a table knife. We were told no sharp knives were allowed in the airport area. He asked if the chef had one? "Of course," smiled the server.

"Then please have him cut my steak into small pieces," brother responded. The plate was shortly returned, the meat neatly cut and a fresh order of french fries heaped alongside.

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