Saturday, January 22, 2005

Citizen Carl

One deadly night at the Dresden Room, one particularly dreary awful night, I was slumping my way to the exit when I felt a firm grip on my shoulder. I turned to see Carl Ferraro, the Dresden's owner, manager, Godfather. All ninety-some years of him, still trim and natty in a herringbone blazer. And Carl spake, saying, "Keep swingin', baby." And lo, my spirits were lifted. And I went forth, and kept swinging.

Over the years, Carl and I became good friends. After my dad died it was nice to have another old codger around who'd call me "boy". On his way out the door he'd clap me on the back and say, "I'm going home. You're in charge, my boy." This made him laugh. The first time he said it was the first time I consciously thought "I come here waaaaaaay too much."

By now you see where this is going.

Carl was an ornery old cuss, but sheer obstinacy alone can only hold off the reaper for so long. He's gone wherever great saloon keepers go, and to paraphrase Kipling, I'd take a swig in Hell from Carl Ferraro. Until that time I'll just have to keep swingin',


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