It was Sunday. Lisa and I sat on the couch having just finished a brunch of Acorn Squash and Spinach Torte and English Muffins with Roasted Garlic Jelly. Lisa passed on the Roasted Garlic Jelly and went with homemade Strawberry Jam instead. I was deep into watching The Rifleman and (once again) marveling at how the relationship between Lucas McCain and his son, Mark, was unlike anything on television. The love between father and son would not be remarkable today but this was 1958? Soon, Chuck Connors would be relegated to only “bad guy” roles but during those years, he loved that boy unreservedly and was a man of impeccable honor.
I’ve been nursing a rotator cuff injury for quite a while and it was acting up a bit. The two Aleve I had taken earlier weren’t doing anything to change that. I probably slept on it wrong and this was my punishment.
Lisa’s phone rang.
I heard her say “Hello” in the voice that means Leah Logan was calling. It’s a genuinely happy “Hello” and said in a pitch that only those who’ve actually spoken to my wife would believe. I turned to look at her because I like to see her face light up when she talks to Leah. But it didn’t. Her face sort of dropped and her eyes went out of focus. I think she said “What?” to Leah but, honestly, I don’t remember. I do remember that she looked at me and said, “Ed died”. For a second I thought, “Ed who?” even though we only know one Ed. Lisa told Leah that she was going to put her on speakerphone and poked the face of the iPhone. Leah’s voice jumped out of it.
She told us about talking to Terri who is Ed’s significant other. She told us abut how it happened. That, Ed had a double bypass two weeks ago but was doing well. She said something about a pulmonary embolism. She said some other words but, again, I just don’t remember because it all ended with “Ed died”.
Ed and Terri just retired. Around the end of last year, they sold Terri’s townhouse in Silver Spring and moved to a place they bought in Florida. Terri was a government employee and Ed was an Ironworker. He built buildings and large structures for a living. He got up early and went to work in the cold or heat or rain or snow. It didn’t matter. Ed was one of the guys that made things that you could put your hands on or live in or work in. He didn’t move paper around for a living. He created.
And, Ed was a fisherman. Oh my, was he a fisherman. Not the kind that likes to go and dip a line in the water. Not the kind that buys a boss Bass Boat and blasts around the Potomac harassing the fish on weekends. He had the boss Bass Boat but Ed was a student of fishing. He studied fishing. He entered tournaments. And, sometimes, he won. The smallies should start biting on the Potomac in a big way pretty soon and for the first time in years, they’ll do it without Ed.
During the hot, muggy summers in DC, we spend just about every weekend over at John and Leah’s house. We cook food, play some tunes and swap stories about the week and current events. If there was a golf tournament of interest, it would be on in the family room. As summer turns to fall, we do the same thing. The golf tournaments are replaced by NFL games but the food and stories would stay the same.
Ed would tell us about life in New York. He’d tell me about snow in New York and I would tell him about snow in Colorado. He would just sort of chuckle and shake his head. He’d talk about fishing and flat track racing motorcycles. And, eventually, Ed would end up in the corner of the couch, have a few beers and nod off. We’d all kind of smile and whisper a few jokes at Ed’s expense but never loud enough to wake him. Ed had to get up early to go to work. Let him sleep. Eventually, Terri would decide it was time for him to go and off they went.
We bought this house on the Oneida River. I was convinced that Ed would come up and teach me how to fish for walleye and muskies and whatever else is in this river. We talked about it a few times and Ed told me about fishing on Oneida Lake and the Oneida River and in the Fingerlakes Region. He said he and Terri were going to come up and he’d show me.
It would have been grand.