Monday, August 2, 2010
For Richard, 1914-2010
We received news today that an old friend from Chicago, Richard Gengler, passed away this weekend. Richard was a native Chicagoan, World War II veteran, bachelor, sailor, church usher, dahlia cultivator. He loved playing the stock market and reading about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje. He mixed Manhattans and bragged about his salads, counting off the number of ingredients he managed to scrounge up from the refigerator, with equal pride. He left long, loud messages on our answering machine, always beginning with a hearty, "Helloooo!" He cherished a good strawberry rhubarb pie, and he always had a word (and a flower) for a pretty woman. Until the last few years of his life, he lived in the house where he was born in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. He would have been 96 in December. Although we hadn't seen him in several years, we will miss him, and tonight, though it is much too warm, we will mix a Manhattan--a perfect Manhattan, with dry and sweet vermouth, as Richard liked to remind us--and drink in his honor. Requiescat in pace.