Thursday, June 5, 2008

If Monmouth is heaven....

I'm behind on the postings, and for that I apologize. Haven't been feeling well.
This posting isn't what it was intended, and for that I apologize, too.
Oh well. It's my blog, dammit.
I'm at that age now where you start getting those phone calls, especially when many of your friends are older than you.
I got one today. My buddy Howie Ryan, racetrack regular and former assistant track coach at UH, had a heart attack and died Monday night.
Howie was a regular at Table 1 at Sam Houston, along with guys like me, JW, Scotty, Jerry and the three Bills.
Many of the characters in Jesus Just Left Chicago were developed at that table. Howie was one of them.
Howie was loud. He could get on your nerves. He was east coast through and through. It was easier to get a date with a supermodel than to get him to buy a drink sometimes.
But Howie was good people. Funny. Always bet the pick fours at Monmouth, and he rarely had a horse higher than 7-2 odds, so even when he hit it never paid anything.
Jerry called to tell me. It hit him pretty hard. It didn't hit me until I sat down to do a funny blog bit about how ugly Cynthia Nixon is and ranking the Sex in the City skanks.
Then I started thinking about Howie, and it hit me too.
I'll miss his voice. I'll miss him giving me grief. I'll miss how he smiled and acted happy to see me every time I showed up, even when he was getting murdered at the track.
Howie was the definition of a racetrack character.
And a friend. I'll hoist one of your Coors Lights in your honor first chance I get.
I hope they have pick fours in heaven, Howie. And I hope you hit them all.

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