A few years back I lost a close friend to brain cancer. It was tough. Mike was a great guy…and full of life, before his struggle with cancer robbed him of his vitality. He fought like hell. But he finally lost the war.
I miss him. He was one of my closest friends in Columbus in the years between high school and LaGrange.
In the last two weeks, I got hit with two more bodyblows. Jason Sparks, another of the Columbus crew, and one of the sneakiest funny guys I ever knew had a heart attack at his home in Cataula.
Jason and I were pretty close Facebook friends. I loved his photos of country life, of his coi pond and his cat that he loved dearly.
Then, on Saturday, news of another passing, this time a high school classmate. James Eaton was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Quick with a smile, a laugh and even great advice. I had not seen James in person in years, but we talked often on Facebook. I hoped that next time the family made a trip back to NC we could meet up and catch up with James and his lovely wife. James was a gentle giant of a man, who played bass in a rock band. I feel like he never met a stranger. His wife Heather is planning a party at a Charlotte bar to celebrate his memory on Thursday night. I wish I could make it. I think it will be the perfect tribute. He is gone much too soon, the victim of a heart, that again…just stopped beating.
I don’t have any sage advice to take away from these losses. I hate each of them equally. I guess all I can say is treasure the moments. Treasure your family. Live like James. Appreciate nature and friendship like Jay. And fight. Fight like Mike. We are all a little less whole without the three of them around.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine tea, lemon, ginger liqueur, whisky, and bitters. Shake for 12 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon twist and serve immediately.
I wonder if I could get my wife to try this…if I didn’t let her know it had Fernet in it.
1 oz. Domaine De Canton
1 oz Fernet Branca*
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
top with ginger beer or club soda (family opinion splits here)
In an ice filled shaker add Domaine De Canton, Fernet Branca and lemon juice. Shake hardily. Pour into a tall ice filled glass and top with the ginger beer or club soda. Garnish with lemon or a fresh mint sprig.
*Play with the measure of Fernet, just a bit will add a lot of flavor to a cocktail.
As cocktail enthusiasts you should know by now that writing and research is just an excuse for us to drink and try new cocktails, but like everyone else, the morning after can be tough. While the “hair of the dog” for many people consists of a Bloody Mary or Mimosa, we swear by a combination of the following two ingredients; Fernet Branca and ginger.
Like most cordials, Fernet was originally concocted for medicinal purposes. The combination of headache curing and stomach settling herbs include anise, camomile, cardamom, rhubarb, myrrh and eucalyptus.
It’s no secret that the other component, ginger, is traditionally used for all types of ailments as well. This is where our family differs the most; whether it is Domaine De Canton, ginger ale, ginger syrup or fresh ginger we all agree that the combination of Fernet and ginger is the best remedy for a hangover.
The Grantland column said that the SEC Championship was a chance for the (paraphrasing here) University of Georgia to change the narrative…and reframe what many people say about the Dawgs (pretenders, perennial bridesmaids, can’t get it done). I think at the end of four quarters the Bulldogs proved that they did indeed deserve to be on the stage with the Crimson Tide.
Now, shore up that running D. Stop giving up those big yards off tackle. Replace some key losses and get back to the game again. Important to note here that just playing close in the SEC Championship game is a big improvement over some of their past efforts. You did yourself proud on a national stage.
Looking forward to seeing you next year in the real Death Valley. If not before then in Atlanta.