My father was a martini and steak kind of guy. Had a mellifluous, Sinatra-singed voice. Looked sharp when he strode up to the bar and staked a claim for his cocktail of choice — martini, rocks, twist he would assertively say to the barkeep. In seconds a sparkly clear libation would appear, lasting just a few minutes usually, before another and another was ordered. Those sorts of antics are outdated now. Those who wore the tie and jacket, those who smoked the Kent cigarettes in the back of taxis or in crowded planes, and those liked their Beefeater martinis adorned only with only a twist of lemon are mostly gone. Those who still sport style do so feebly, in fits and starts, and in damn small increments (or not at all).
Pat and Richard certainly had style. Practitioners of conversation, of civility and of joyful living (a little wine, yes; a pitcher of martinis, no). Through their presence I was reminded that life is mostly choice — where you live, who you end up marrying, what jobs you take and what jobs you leave — generally, where you invest your time, emotion and money. We talked about business, their homes, and what they did for fun.
Their deliberate natures and success in their fields boiled down to a central philosophy — that life is a mostly creative act and that a curious and inventive mind can propel a person further and toward a more satisfying outcome than adherence (obedience?) to a company credo. Personally, I’ve punched a clock for most of my life. Richard? Could count on one finger the time he called himself an employee.
Pat and Richard had come north on family business. They knew the area well and had their pick of places to stay and dine. I got lucky I guess that they picked mine.