Give Him Mine...Remembering Nicky


« Brain food from the heartland

by Louie b. Free   | 349 entries


I don’t remember when I first met Nick...probably Jr. High (youngsters read: 7th/8th grade). I clearly remember being friends in High School. Nick was a weightlifter. I remember him winning a senior division YMCA lift competition. You needed to be 18, Nick was not yet 18, but entered as a senior and WON ! You could do that in the late 60s/early 70s and get away w/it. I was one of his ‘coaches’ Nick said, but all I did was encourage him and , I cheered him on! I was pretty scrawny back then (not my current 6’4” 240# of solid steel) I wore a size small T-shirt, maybe weighed a buck and a quarter. Nick was HUGE ! I clearly remember Nick, Dave T and Bobby K putting me on a bench and ‘spotting’ me when there were 100s of pounds of weight above my chest. “ Get ready, punk” Nick would say...but, he never allowed the weight to drop on me. I also remember Nick, et al, putting me in a Goodwill donation box in the Boardman Plaza and securing the door, preventing my exit. They were drunk, I was high, it was all good fun. As I think back, we were really different, or, were we? Nick drank and fought, I got stoned and tried to make peace. Nick acted upset when I called him a chocolate covered cherry: solid on the outside, but sweet soft and gooey on the inside...but, he was. We stayed friends over the last half-century. Nick was a law-enforcer….I was, well, not. Nick, always the tough guy outside, but, concerned and kind on the inside. Recently he said to me, “ isn’t it time you cut that F*** hair, you punk!” I was glad that he still had that spunk! He was on dialysis, had heart issues, etc. A few hours ago, I stopped to see him at the medical facility that was treating him. I could tell by the look on the staff’s faces that he was gone. As my tears fall on the keyboard, as I look at this through blurry eyes, I wonder why, two kids, then two teenagers , then two adults, so dramatically different, stayed friends for over fifty years…. As I try to find a way to complete this, I was JUST reminded of a Nicky & Louie story from years ago….Nick wanted me to go with him to a club that had ‘dancers’. Now, you need to understand this, chronologically. Years ago, many ‘strip-clubs’ had ladies who danced on bars. They danced in lingerie, panties & bras….on a stage or across a bar. Nicky wanted me to go to a bar on Midlothian where ladies ‘danced’. I being married, I was reluctant, but, Bun , who loved Nicky very much(Nicky was at our wedding) said,”it’s really ok, it’s Nicky, go with him” . I went. The dancer put a quarter in the jukebox and began dancing on the bar... stopping at every patron, serving up a bit of a personal show….as she approached me, Nicky said “ don't you f*** embarrass me, you punk!” When the scantily-clad young lady got to me, I put a 5 dollar bill in front of Nicky and said to her: “ give him mine”. The dancer, barmaid, and entire bar erupted in laughter…. Nicky, I miss you my friend….save a seat at the bar for me.

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.