Home Up The Black Hole Literary Review Wm. E. Allendorf, Prop.

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Well, let me cut to the chase.  Dad died.   It looked like he was turning around, but all of a sudden all his organs just gave out and he passed on peacefully and suddenly.  Dad drove himself to the VA on the Fifth for a routine test.  He breathed his last on October 23rd. In a lot of ways, I am kind of happy it came this way. Dad slipped out of full wakefulness after about a week in the hospital and had not shown any sign of consciousness in over a day. Mom was spared a lot.  Probably if Dad had been calling the shots, he would have  had us all together watching football and yucking it up anyway.   We got the call during the 4th quarter of the Packer/Vikings game.  None of us were at the hospital. Nobody knew this was coming. I had taken Mom back to my house for dinner, and then she had entertained the kids for a while back at her place, feeding them sundaes.

So there you have it. I really truly miss his stories. Most were laced with names of local Cincinnati glitterati, but a surprising number included folks you might know.

“.. .so Jack Lescoli, Bill Nimmo and I met up with Jackie Gleason and go back to his place to play pool . . . I wake up on the boat to Hamburg. I don’t know how I got there.. .”

Growing up, I was always amazed at the number of local TV people he knew. Bob Braun had been his best friend when Bob was still a lifeguard at Sunlight Pool. He’d managed to date most of the cast of Midwestern Hayride. What had happened was that he was building apartments back about the same time the local TV stations were first coming on the air. Word got around that my Dad had good clean places at a reasonable rate and soon a good number of the local talent were tenants. Rod Serling was there. I remember meeting Gene Shepherd and Kenny Price when I was a kid.

For all my life, I’ve been walking into bars and restaurants and having folks recognize my name and tell me how much they love my Dad and my Mom. He was a guy who just knew how to have fun and how to make fun for the people around him. He just made you happy.

But as the old Chinaman says:

‘ There was a fire. It burned brightly once, and now it is gone. It may burn elsewhere in this world, I know not where, but these sticks have burned out and grown cold. ‘”

From Eulogy for Big Stick

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