Part Gypsy, part pirate, part little boy. He was an infuriating, interesting and a loyal person. He was a son, brother, father, uncle, and friend. He is dead. Dead too soon? Perhaps. Missed? Absolutely.
The last time I saw him he had driven up from St Pete’s and um, really I wasn’t sure why. He had been betrayed, that much I did know. He had told me he was coming up, but I wasn’t expecting him for another week. He ate dinner with us and went to bed. The next morning he offered me breakfast. I declined. I wanted to be lazy. Turns out everyone he turned to that morning had declined his offers. We all live with that. Seems that happens when anyone dies unexpectedly. Regrets.
He left my house. Said he was heading up to his son’s house. He called me a few times that day. Telling me his every move and lastly telling me he was done. He was so sad. He felt so alone, even talking to me I couldn’t fix whatever it was that haunted and tortured him through out his life.
See, I knew what it was. I’m never going to say what it was. He knew I knew and that was enough.
What I do want to do is tell you about him. I think he deserves to be talked about and remembered.
Raymond Francis Gallagher was my brother. I understood him; very few did. He had a heart so big and emotions so strong he could overwhelm most with his energies. He never kept a job for very long; growing restless and bored. He never stayed in one place very long for the same reasons. He married a couple of times. The most lasting was to Gwenn. They had two beautiful children together, but that too ended in heartbreaking ways. His son and daughter relied on their father and he even more so relied on them. The sound of his absence is loud especially for them. His son is married and has two kids. Ray dying impacted them more than i think they even realize. His daughter is married also, and she hides her sorrow well.
Why am I even writing this now? I’m not sure. I just didn’t want him to think I have forgotten. I haven’t.
Ray, your room upstairs is still pretty much the same. Oh, I did use your clothes to insulate the duck house. I knew you’d appreciate that. The duck house is Ray’s Duck House. I figured for every time you would sleep in the back yard because you loved going to sleep looking at the stars, you’d appreciated the ducks.
My whiskey lasts longer and chocolate is not eaten up as quickly with you not here.
You would’ve loved Trump as our President. You were right about him.
Your grandkids; Ray and Lily started school this week. Only the second time without you. Jenn remembered to get pictures done, don’t worry.
Went down to Delaware Bay about a week ago. Remember that time we went fishing and you caught that eel? You hated eels so much and would get so pissed off. I was hoping one of the guys fishing off the rocks would have caught one to see how he reacted. Had a beer on the beach at sunset and missed you being there.
You, know I wanted to tell some stories about the insane things you did. Like remember when you bought that brand new Ford Ranchero? I had that old, beat up Pontiac and you, out of the goodness of your heart, swapped cars with me for a couple of weeks. Later, after being followed by that guy I learned he had a wife that you, (how do i say?) were very friendly with. Ha, that was a beautiful car. Thanks for letting me show off with it.
Remember when you had planted all that weed out in the field and our stupid cousin ratted you out? Daddy was pissed. That was too funny and I should of beat Terri’s ass. What a waste of weed, it was growing so nicely.
How about that time you found that crow that got it’s foot caught in that trap. Pop had to amputate it’s leg and you took care of it until it healed. How many years did that crow come back and visit you? That was pretty cool.
You know that next morning after you had called me I was heading out to work and there was a vulture behind my car. A crow joined him. They were looking at each other beak to beak and then they both looked at me. I knew when they looked at me that you were gone. When I started the car Vincent by Don McLean came on the radio and I absolutely knew you were gone.
I have a hundred stories to tell. You were a big part of them. Thank you for picking me up from the airport when I had no money for the shuttle and feeding me when I was so broke and had made some bad decisions. You were so kind to me and I appreciated it so much.
I’m going to tell more stories and adventures featuring Raymond Francis Gallagher and just maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get to know a man unlike anyone you have ever known.