I first wrote about Walter here, (http://sansdosage.blogspot.com/2012/12/not-dome-with-me-yet.html) in early December after hearing that the cantankerous old bastard that snarled into his glass, had a tendency to let chunks of half chewed cheese bits fly from his mouth while exclaiming that the wine in his glass was, "fucking disgusting!” and he meant it in the best possible way, the thin as a rail, bearded and lovably grumpy fixture at our events, that he was going to be up for one hell of a fight. Our Walter even though he had quit smoking years earlier he had been diagnosed with lung Cancer. Dammit.
Walter’s name was Jack, Jack Bryans and today was the first Saturday that I knew, for sure, that he wouldn’t be walking his scrawny ass through our front door to attend our tasting. Crushing.
“Oh look, a Jack update” my coworker Andy checking his smart phone to find he had an email waiting. “Oh….the ultimate update I’m afraid” that’s how I heard, heard that our irascible old fart didn’t have quite enough fight left in his 76 year old frame. None of us were terribly shocked, I mean he was so frail and had already taken a spill, one that broke bones even, do to the aggressive Cancer treatment. Not shocking at all but there we were yesterday afternoon, all quiet and avoiding eye contact with one another for fear that we would either be caught with tears in our eyes or see them in someone else’s and not be able to keep it together. Dammit Jack.
Much like in that first post I was struggling with if I should go visit Jack while he was in the hospital and much like the last time I just felt it would have been too weird, for us anyway. The last time I saw him he had come in for one of our Thursday afternoon tastings, one featuring white wines from Spain, the crisp little whites with tons of racy acid that Jack and I both adore drinking and chattering with each other about. We did, chatter and taste he and I that Thursday afternoon and I am absolutely fine with that being my last memory of him, of us. Dang it Walter.
I do regret not being able to say goodbye but more than that, I wish I had let him know just how much his gentle ribbing, nitpicking and eventual adoration of me and my palate meant to me….that and I will be inconsolable, on the inside of course, come our annual Rose and Aioli Fest in June. I’ll miss his schmeg covered glass, stinky garlic breath, constant updates of which Rose was best with carrots, potatoes, the lamb, so exuberant and expressive that the other attendees would be a little frightened. He loved that event and I know with everything I am, he would have lost his shit over the 2012 vintage of his beloved Roses. Gonna miss you Jack.
(Walter) Jack Bryans December 1937 – March 2013