IN LOVING MEMORY

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A view from a Bob

BOB FAGELSON

I'll Miss You Frank

Last week, I lost one of my dearest friends in a tragic auto accident. By the time this is published, there will have been hundreds of words of tribute written and spoken about Frank Giamartino. And in time, everyone in this community will realize just how important and vital Frank was to us all.

He touched virtually everyone's life in some way or another, whether it was through his ministering at the pharmacy, his love and enthusiasm for baseball, his beloved Mets, his continuous unheralded giving, or his infectious sense of humor. Toward that end, I would like to relate one of the many experiences I had with Frank.

It had to be close to 20 years ago when Frank called to invite me to a game at Yankee Stadium, where his father had tickets right behind the first base dugout.

We were to be accompanied by Jason Cross, one of Frank's gazillions of employees (That, in itself, is a whole other story), and Charlie, the proprietor of a local establishment. I drove, and when everyone got in the car, Charlie had a 20 ounce plastic cup filled to the brim. He asked if anyone wanted a gin and tonic, and we all demurred. Silly me, I thought the cup was filled with the gin and tonic, but I quickly learned the tonic was in another container.

As we headed down 1-91, Charlie's speech became more and more slurred; when we reached Greenfield, he muttered, "Bobby, if you get tired or have too much to drink, I can take over."

Traveling along, Charlie finished off the Vodka and had a few beers. Driving in New York on the Major Deagan, Charlie made me pull over so he could relieve himself on the side of the roadway in the middle of rush hour traffic.

We reached the Stadium and took our seats. Charlie was yelling at the players and the umps, which is everyone's right. The problem was Charlie was always two plays behind.

Now, Frank had brought a sack full of grinders for us, so we were taken aback when Charlie announced that he was going out to get something to eat. This was in the third or fourth inning, and we never saw Charlie again that night. When the game ended, we searched all the bathrooms and waited in the parking lot until we were asked to leave. I looked at Frank; Frank looked at me; we decided we were not going to visit every police precinct in the South Bronx, so we went home.

The next day, Frank called me. Charlie had just been in the pharmacy and proceeded to tell Frank the most amaiing, most preposterous story involving his having been robbed, kidnapped, held hostage, then effecting an escape, and negotiating a ride back to Brattleboro from total strangers.

As Frank and I talked and laughed, I heard one of his employees in the background say, "Remind me not to go anywhere with you two."

Good-bye, Frankie. I'll miss our adventures. I'll miss you.