Oh, my! How long ago was that?

It was almost a year ago – June 3rd, 2023 – that Johnnie departed forever. I learned of his failing health and pneumonic death from his longtime friend and childhood schoolmate Lynn. Since then I have had the opportunity to converse via email with Lynn on several occasions as she resolvedly prepares to fulfill Johnnie’s last wish foregathering; and, during the same period my partner and I have reflected upon the times we and Johnnie spent together.  Today I was again prompted to think upon the past by the unusual circumstance of seeing a new model vehicle at my car dealership.  I was there to have routine maintenance done on my vehicle; and, while sitting in the showroom fiddling on my iPhone I was obliged to confront what had the appearance of a remake of the erstwhile Hummer.

The connection is that the first time I recall having acquainted myself with the superlative that is the “Humvee” was in Fort Lauderdale when we were there with Johnnie on vacation. We had been for lunch at a well-known haunt called Georgie’s Alibi in Wilton Manors.  Afterwards on our way back to the condo on Galt Ocean Drive we chanced to come alongside a Hummer likewise headed towards the sea. It was impossible to ignore.

Weighing roughly 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), the Hummer EV (the remake) is among the heaviest consumer automobiles currently sold in the United States. Its size, mass, and acceleration have led to concerns about the danger it poses to other road users in the event of collisions, as well as its efficiency and environmental impact.

Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar

The vulgarity of the Hummer pretty much was iillustrative of the extravagance of our luncheon. And I suspect it heralded what was to signify the predominant character of the entirety of our time together in Fort Lauderdale. Luncheon began with martinis. The American historic profligacy for food speaks for itself. Of further historic significance is that it was about this time that Fort Lauderdale had begun to replace Key West as the resort for Members of the Committee. The huge carnival cruise ships had overtaken Mallory Pier and the AIDS pandemic had evaporated even the oceanside retreats.  The social model and aging demographic had irretrievably altered the patterns of behaviour, seemingly moderating lasciviousness with unfettered alcoholism. It was for the moment at least a less destructive alternative.

Reflecting upon the good ‘ole days is, if taken abstemiously, improving though at times wistful. The important ingredient not to be overlooked is that, as complementary as was a fireside martini, it transpired when one was young. The decomposition of the carcass envelopes every particle thereof including, to be blunt, the channels of alcohol. Singing in one’s chains like the sea was not, I am assured, intended even by Dylan Thomas as interpretative of the finality at a New York bar when he putatively commanded the steward to fill a pyramid of shot glasses with his preferred poison before commencing to down them. Basically, the buzz wears off with age, the same way one wouldn’t imagine longing to run the marathon once again.  The indisputable advantage of a moderate old age is moderate well-being.

From all this grief and loss I am thus enabled to extract my so-called measure of gratification. In addition I derive some benefit from being able to re-think the past; that is, to contemplate the lessons arising without seeing change as nothing but diminution.  Indeed I was further spirited today – after some plogging of the mind – to reconsider my customary reaction to my own sensibilities. To avoid complete obscurity, I shall simply say that I am as of ten o’clock this morning more inclined to embrace with gusto what in the past may have bristled my colloquialisms. It’s now them or me!  And, let me put it this way, I am not yet about to cave!