Andy and I were perhaps not a full generation apart, but we surely came from different worlds. He didn’t care about that.
It wasn’t that he didn’t care about things, he just didn’t care how old I was or where I came from.
We would chat every now and then about boxing, about Philadelphia, and about food. He knew more about all of those things than I did and it was obvious. I didn’t mind so much, mostly because he didn’t mind either, and he wasn’t all too preachy about it. Even when I disagreed with him. I thought Dinic’s served the best sandwich in the city and he was convinced the Vesper Club cooked ’em up better. I had never shot a pheasant and I’m pretty sure he had never shot a coyote. We both agreed neither of us should eat a coyote.He invited me to go watch his heavyweight fight at the New Alhambra, he treated me to lunch at the Vesper, he sent my resume out to his friends without my asking. He was supposed to introduce me to the world of horse racing but I moved away too soon.
We talked a lot about the mummers and black face, chatted about the legal system. We wrote to each other quite a bit about rugby. Andy loved lacrosse, he loved his boy, and that boy recently traded in lacrosse for rugby. He wanted to figure this game out so he asked questions. I’m a kid from nowhere who had never heard of the Vesper Club, or any club, and he had no problem asking me to teach him things.
I think that is how he approached people. As people.
I have no doubt his memorial service will be full of good people. Andy always treated me like I was good people.
Andy just smiled and shook Pete’s hand. Truth is my wife had phoned me at the office some hours earlier to tell me a good friend had been at the hospital all week with his micro-preemie daughter. His wife called my wife to say her husband needed to get out for a few hours. Follow that?
I pulled up to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pete hopped in, and as I pulled off I looked over and asked, “have you ever watched boxing live?”
He had not. Turns out he had never even seen it on TV. I guess I hang out with all sorts.
“So who are we meeting again?” Pete asked as we made our way to the Asylum in South Philly. “His name is Andy and I have never met him,” was my answer.
Andy is a Philadelphia lawyer with a jones for duck hunting, horse races, and coaching kids lacrosse. He also manages a boxer. The two of us found a common interest in defending our oft slandered city from unwarranted digital attacks by a betweeded curmudgeon. Tonight was Andy’s birthday and he extended an invite for my wife and I to be a guest in his box for the evening’s fights.
Having explained my change in companions for the night Andy just smiled and ushered us upstairs to sit with his other twenty guests. Good group of guys this bunch. They did not know me, nor Pete, nor did they care. Conversation was free and easy and cheering was plentiful. Andy’s fighter handled his opponent with ease. Andy handled his guests with ease. I handled the free pizza and hoagies with great care.
Pete said he enjoyed himself. I believe him, but toward the end of the night it was obvious his mind was elsewhere. He wanted to head back to his girl.
I didn’t mind at all. I could not have asked for a better host, the night was all it promised to be, but I did have to get up early… I had an “engagement” early the next day.