Fetching Uncle Eddie on a Friday Night

Three Gaynors Night Club in Bridgeport was the place to be
on a Friday, with your paycheck in hand
No ID needed to cash your check
if the bartender knew your face
Uncle Eddie’s was well-known–
not only on Fridays, but every other day, except Sunday
when he drank in the privacy of his own home

His poison of choice–Jack Daniels
Never cluttered with much, just a few cubes of ice
that never had a chance–
to return to water, because
of Uncle Eddie’s swift swilling technique

He told me once golden amber was his favorite color
I asked him why, and
he said I had to guess, and I tried
but to no avail, so
I asked my Mom, who explained
that was whiskey’s color, and
warned me never to drink like her brothers

I never saw Uncle Eddie drink, which
was not so unusual, since drinking was a matter for men, and
not young boys, who just might notice
that their uncles weren’t perfect–
a far cry from what their mothers would’ve hoped

Only once did I see my dear uncle snockered–
Totally smashed beyond recognition
He called my Dad; his third call for rescue
Knowing he could never drive his ’61 Chrysler
back to his home in South Bellaire

Dad responded to Uncle Eddie’s call, at Mom’s insistence
that he go fetch her drunken brother
To my chagrin, he asked me to come along
Perhaps he knew he’d need another set of arms
to get my uncle home this Friday night
I accepted the mission without hesitation

Uncle Eddie was too far gone to pose a problem–
No resistance did he give
But, no more than 10 minutes into our drive
My uncle perked up, proclaimed the night wasn’t over, and
one more drink he needed to find his bliss

My Dad, not a drinking man, was quick to counter
Reminding Eddie his liver would someday surely give out
To that, my uncle countered–
that we only go around once, so
we should make the most of it

Dad didn’t argue–
wouldn’t have done any good
He just stepped on the accelerator
Getting Uncle Eddie home sooner

It wasn’t long before Uncle Eddie was fast asleep–
The job from here on was easy
My aunt greeted us, arms crossed on her bosomy chest
She wasn’t happy with the situation, but
after twenty years with my uncle
she had resigned herself to his drunken nature

On the drive back home
I asked my Dad why Uncle Eddie drank so much
He looked at me with a reluctant stare, shook his head
And said “so he wouldn’t feel the pain of life”
I didn’t really understand, but got the sense
my uncle was nowhere as happy as he seemed

Three years later at Uncle Eddie’s funeral
I stared at his colorless face in the casket, and saw a look of peace
I whispered to him: “You never asked my favorite color–
It’s sky blue, the color of Heaven”

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About Don Iannone

Don Iannone is a poet, writer, teacher and photographer who lives in the Greater Cleveland area. He has worked in the economic development field for over 35 years. Don is the author of three poetry books and five photography books. He is working on a short book of photographs and poems about human trafficking. This work was exhibited at six venues in Ohio. Don holds an M.A. degree in Art and Consciousness Studies from the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, where he teaches writing. His educational background also includes studies in Anthropology, Photography, Organizational Behavior, and Economic Development. Don’s website: http://www.donaldiannone.com Wisdom Work Press: https://wisdomworkpress.wordpress.com

2 thoughts on “Fetching Uncle Eddie on a Friday Night

  1. And what a coincidence that Eddie was my Dad’s good friend. Two memories I have of Eddie: Xmas Eve, maybe 1957, he was over at our house, and he made me a sloe gin fizz in the kitchen. And I recall the day that they were cleaning out the gutters on our rented house on S. 3rd St, maybe 1957 again, and Eddie, my Dad, my Brother Billy and I stood watching as the workers threw down pigeon eggs, which splattered on the sidewalk, and they were bloody and had little birds in them.
    And then, even after we moved to California, there were the stories that my Dad would tell about the adventures he and Eddie would have when they were Kirby vacuum cleaner salesmen together, along with guys like Square Deal McCone and their boss, whose name was equally colorful, but which I can’t recall right now….
    Good one, Don. Thanks!

  2. And just for posterity’s sake, as I lay in bed last night, waiting for sleep, after reading some of the Gandavyuha Sutra, the final book of the Avatamsaka Sutra, with its fantastic and long-winded descriptions of Buddha-realms and such, it came to me: the name of Uncle Eddie and Daddy Bill’s leader in the vacuum cleaning sangha: Parker Clark, salesman and wisdom-dispenser extraordinaire….

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