Cycling Along The Way...

My photo
Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gary Shephard, My Friend...

Last Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, Eileen noted on her Facebook page that a friend of ours, Luan, had posted something about "Gary" and "R.I.P." and that this person had been a bartender at The Twisted Vine.  The Twisted Vine was a wine bar that was open when Eileen and I moved to Silver City in 2006.  This is the place where we met probably 75% of our friends in town.  While I never saw Gary tend bar there, I knew he used to rent the apartment upstairs over The Twisted Vine.

Here's a short video of The Twisted Vine:
Before going father, for those readers, if there are any, who may be offended by curse words, stop reading now.  There will be four letter words and the "F-bomb" more than a few times.  All fondly used, I assure you, but used they will be.  When Jim Kolb, who ran The Twisted Vine, decided to end the business, a friend of ours did a video of the last few times that The Vine, as we fondly called it, was open before it's final curtain call.  In one part of the video, Gary Shepard walks up to Jim Kolb...Gary is taller than Jim...and, looking down at Jim, says, "You fuck!", which expressed all of our thoughts precisely...not that Jim was a bad person, we all love Jim, really...we just didn't want The Vine to close because it was where we all hung out.  You know?

Well, that's where I met Gary.  Jim, too.  That's where Eileen got the name, "THE WIFE"..yes, it has to be ALL caps...because Jim couldn't remember her name.  It stuck.  Anyways, back to Gary.  He and the love of his life, Susan, also used to go to 1zero6, which is a restaurant that we all like..so did/do Eileen and I.  Seeing as Gary and I enjoy the use of curse words, particularly the F-bomb, we started a tradition...whenever we'd see each other, we'd both say, "Hey! Shut the FUCK up!", followed by, "NO!  YOU shut the FUCK up!".  No matter where we were; no matter who was there.  It was a tradition, you know?  Gary was one of these big lugs, who always had a smile for you, no matter what was happening with him.  I remember when we helped him celebrate his 70th birthday at The Vine.  I could not believe he was 70 yrs old.  He was in very good shape.  I told him that he didn't look a day over 80.  He told me to "Shut the fuck up!".  LOL...

He and Susan bought a house together a few years ago and, then, summer of 2011, Gary's health took a sudden turn for the worse.  He ended up in the hospital, in ICU, over in Tucson, AZ.  After not seeing him around for a while...because that "FUCK", Jim Kolb, had closed The Vine, so we didn't see each other every weekend like we used to...I asked about Gary and found out that he'd been sick.  Over this past year, I know that Gary had been struggling with his health.  The last time I saw Gary was in the Albertson's parking lot...standing next to his car.  Walking over, I yelled to him...yes, I said it there, in public..."Hey!  YOU!  Shut the FUCK up!"  We both laughed.  Gary looked pretty good, tired, but above ground, eh?  He was trying to walk near his house, building up his strength, and was complaining about the lack of a shoulder on the road to walk on.  He and I chatted for a fair amount of time and then said our goodbyes.  I had no idea it would be the last time I'd see him alive.  He was 75 yrs old this year.  He died on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at his and Susan's home, with Susan by his side.  I hope he went peacefully.  He deserved that.  As I said, he was a big lug...a gentle giant..and just a sweet person.  Gary had so many stories and the way he talked, sometimes it was hard to follow what he was saying, but that didn't stop him.  He cracked me up.  Gary was one of those New Yorkers...from Binghamton, NY.  His passion was working with folks who were developmentally disabled and it showed.  I had told him that, just because he worked with that crowd, it still didn't make him the brightest bulb in the room.  We laughed...

Gary managed to do a lot in his life.  Five kids..all boys.  He and Susan found each other in time to share several years together and time together in their house.  Sometimes joy can be brief, but it's good to have found it while still alive.  Gary and Susan had found it.

So, my friend, Shut the FUCK up...and God speed.  I will miss your face and your greeting to me.  No one else says that to me.  And I don't say it to anyone else.  I truly enjoyed your presence.  For those who'd like to read his obituary, here it is...  And here's a photo...
My friend, Gary Shephard...just look at that mug.  How could you not like this guy?
Here's a tune for you to exit with...some jazz, which I know you liked..."Mood Indigo" performed by Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.  Jazz doesn't get better than this.  Nor better than you, Gary.