I almost forgot this one. Just remembered it this minute. Something truly sad and momentous happened once when Bennett and I were together.
I forgot about it because this event took place fifteen years before we met. We were in the same room only a few feet from each other, but we were strangers and never spoke that evening.
We pieced it together when he was telling me about his past as an amateur musician, playing the clarinet and singing lead vocals in a band. He had just started spinning his tale of a bizarre night when I interrupted him, saying, “I was there. I know exactly where you’re going with this story.”
As he spoke, I could actually picture him all those years ago in his tuxedo, standing at the microphone, singing. Alan, my ex, and I danced to his crooning that night.
As are so many events I’ve gone to over the years, this was a charitable fundraiser, a smallish event, held at a country club. The band stopped playing when an unexpected special guest was escorted up to the mike. Bennett stepped respectfully aside for a singer who attained some degree of eccentric fame back in the late 1960’s .
Tiny Tim was without his ukulele that night, so Bennett’s band members improvised a version of Tiptoe Through The Tulips. Midway through the second verse, he collapsed in a heap at Bennett’s feet.
Bennett has spent his entire career in the medical arena, so he immediately went into emergency mode.
I remember how he looked bent over the body, the dead body. Although an ambulance was called and he was carried into it lying on a stretcher, we all knew he was dead. As did his wife, who followed the stretcher bent over in shock and tears, the comforting arms of friends supporting her.
The evening ended right then. Speaking in low tones, saying only what was absolutely necessary, we all gathered our coats and headed out to our cars.
The first time Bennett and I were ever together, something sadly memorable happened.