Wednesday, March 17, 2010


For those of you have been reading this blog for a while, you may know about some of the rituals that the people I work with perform when we lose one of our own.

Saturday, one segment of my family (the fun segment) participated in an annual ritual to honor my cousin Tom. Tom passed away from the Big Casino a little over three years ago. He was in his mid 40s and had been fighting cancer for several years before it got him. Tom was a very warm hearted and social guy who had a lot of friends.

A few of his friends got together a few months after his death and planned a memorial motorcycle run to honor Tom and raise a few bucks for cancer research. It has turned into an annual event.

My cousin was a biker from the soles of his feet to the top of his melon. This type of event is the perfect way to remember him.

The day starts with breakfast at his favorite watering hole, an Irish
pub near where he worked. 

Part of the line-up at the pub before leaving. Not
a bad turn-out for a run of this type.

All of my career, I have been forced to look at hairy legged pipers
in skirts. Finally, I meet some pipers that I would LIKE to see in
 skirts and they are wearing jeans. Sheesh. These women did a 
Great job starting the day for us.

Stop #2, Toms grave site.

The purpose of step #2 is to say a few words of
remembrance and to share a cold one with Tom.

This is one part of the ritual that I am not sure Tom
would approve of. Every body takes one hit of beer,
then gives Tom a hit. I think that he would view this
as a waste of good beer. No, you just don't worry
about backwash.

 This is Tom's bike. His little brother just got it off of Tom's wife. It 
is sure good to see it running and on the road again. It took three
years before Tom's wife could part with it. She knew it had to go 
Tom's brother, but it was such a big part of their lives. Maybe this 
is a sign she is starting to heal.

After the cemetery, the group heads up to the mountains/desert/coast to a tavern somewhere and enjoys the early afternoon with a few more beers and a nice ride. As I sold my Harley a few years ago, I usually sit this part out.

The ride ends at a local American Legion Hall, where my auntie
and her husband are members. Food and drink are available.

The guy on the left is wee Jimmy, one of Tom's best
friends. Wee Jimmy is from Scotland, but is a great
singer of Irish Ballads. Beer, emotion and Irish 
ballads. The perfect day.

Me Auntie, Tom's mom. Here she is singing her
own cover of Danny Boy called, oddly enough,
Tommy Boy. Sniff.

Wee Jimmy is one of the main organizers for the 
event. Here, he is singing a ballad that he wrote on 
the day that Tom died. The next pic in this sequence
show a tear running down his cheek. I chose not
to post it. By now, I was hiding behind my camera,
the body hiding my leaky eyes. Allergies were a 
mother on Saturday.

My uncle at the mike. For a white man, he can sure sing the blues.

After dark, Things slowed down and I left. The Saint I Am Married To was happy that I didn't have to call #1 son for a ride home. In a way, so am I. I cherish these rituals, eccentric as they may be. I know that they are good for my Auntie and my Cousin and likely for Tom's wife and kids as well. 

It is a good way to remember Tom, we all miss him. Ride in peace cousin.

Thanks for reading, 


  1. Capt, I think I am gonna get a Harley as they sure can do a send off/memorial/fundraisers right! Thanks for sharing Tommy with us! And on St Patty's day to boot!! I will raise one for him tonight, capt!

  2. Wow, I sure hope I have that many people remembering me when I'm gone. Amazing.

  3. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    It looks like an absolutely lovely day for friends and family to celebrate your cousin's life. All the people he loved and things he enjoyed.

    Happy St. Patrick's mon capitaine,
    and to Santa Esposa of the patience infinita,
    and to your sons,

    Ann T.