Smiling faces. Sometimes…

February 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Waxing Nostalgic)

I love seeing faces from the past. Sometimes it’s in person, or on TV. The newspaper is most common. I read the obituaries daily, and recognize a name about once a month. They used to be my parent’s friends; these days it’s more likely to be one of my old cronies. The majority of my buddies from The Biltmore have moved on from this mortal coil, mostly from drug or liver-related conditions.

It’s just as nice to see someone still alive. I saw my uncle’s name the other day, and called him immediately. (I wasn’t too worried, the name had a slightly different spelling.) He was glad I called, but a bit disconcerted that he was already in the obits.

This morning, while waiting for the noon news, I saw the new Tom Peterson commercial. “WAKE UP!” Tom’s a bit wrinkly, and not as frenetic as he once was, but he’s got that spry smile working. Gloria was there too. It’s good to see them. I watched Portland Wrestling every Saturday night as a kid, and you couldn’t not know who Tom Peterson was. I remember the thrill when I saw him in person in about 1975. The family had gone to Value Village on 82nd, and I snuck away to the Fred Meyer’s across the street. As I went in, I crossed paths with the furniture mogul himself! I was surprised at how tall he was. (He always looked 5’6″ on TV to me…) He nodded and gave the trademark smile when he saw me gawking.

I still want one of his watches…

Sometimes the news is not so good. As I read the newspaper yesterday, I see a story on the front page about a man who allegedly embezzled a quarter-million dollar’s worth of computer equipment from PSU. The name looked familiar, so I looked him up on the cyber post office wall, and sure enough! He’s an old customer from my last place of employment. Gulp!

I’m surprised, not so much that he may have done it, but by the audacious magnitude of the whole scheme. I used to sell him beer by the case, sometimes several times a day. He was a pleasant, friendly fellow, and even bootlegged a Grateful Dead concert from the Gorge that my cousin had attended. (It was a home-run Xmas present.) My co-workers called him Jerry Garcia, although he looks more like Dr Johnny Fever. He was always tripping off to Amsterdam or Jamaica. Hmm… Must have been some good frequent-flier mileage…

Who will I see from the past today? Who knows? But I hope it’s because they stumble across me at the store, coming from a Happy Valentine’s dinner or a night at the bars, and not because they are dead or under indictment.

Make it good news. Please?

1 Comment

  1. Samuel John Klein said,

    Tom’s still making commercials! Hot damn! I’ve got to see me that!

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