While looking for decorations in the Christmas closet, I saw my son’s large, blue, piggy bank on the shelf, a gift given at his baby shower from Sam Jones, one of my regular customers at Gampy’s bar. Sam was really a regular at both the bar and in the restaurant, spending hours reading or pouring over student papers in the back, corner banquet, then moving to the bar to catch up on all the local chatter before going home. He was probably fifty something, a gay academic, tortured it seemed by his semi-closeted life, his loneliness, and the death of too many aid-infested friends in the 80’s. He smoked and drank heavily and could easily be talked into snarky. Dyane and Bill probably knew him best, but he was kind and generous to all of the staff, and everyone thought they were his favorite (although there were a couple of servers he blatantly didn’t care for). From what I heard, Sam practiced high risk sex, with young, angry black boys, coke addicts and street people, and although I never heard anything about the police investigation, I was told that it was some sexual or social deviant that robbed and killed him.
Every time I see this ceramic, blue snout on the shelf, I wonder what do I do with Sam’s piggy bank, or rather, Aaron’s piggy bank, the baby gift he doesn’t want, the gift he never used all that much. I really don’t like looking at it, such a sad reminder of someone who just briefly passed through my life, our lives, someone I was not terribly close to or knew very well. Aaron is thirty years old and would probably say he never heard of Sam Jones. And yet I can’t imagine giving the bank away, destroying it, not giving it the reverence it deserves. How odd to be held in limbo by a rather ugly, blue piggy bank with yellow daisies on it. Merry Christmas, Sam.
photo credit: loopedmag.com