Thursday, May 17, 2018

RIP Coral Calloway

Two very rare things happening to me today. 1. I'm taking a personal day off. And 2. I'm going to a funeral. Folks who know me know that I rarely call off work. Unless it's weather related or I'm knocking on death's door, I don't take days off. I need the money.
     And I'm not really a funeral guy. The last funeral I went to was my eldest brother's and that was almost ten years ago. He was also the last of my close relatives to pass on. I have no parents, grandparents, or siblings left. Just little ol' me. 
     But this funeral is for someone who, while we butted heads more than a few times, I considered a friend. She was my Legion post's bartender, Coral Calloway. She ran our bar for a long time.
     By her admission, she was a piece of work. Headstrong, opinionated, said whatever was on her mind. She had no problem barring people. She barred her own sister, her best friend and your's truly for a couple weeks. Because of that I can count how many people she threw out on two hands with fingers left over.
     She ran a tight ship, but she loved a good party. Coral's idea of a good time was a bar full of people laughing and talking, drinks flowing, food on the table, and Earth, Wind and Fire on the jukebox.
    Coral loved all the Pittsburgh sports teams, but she especially loved the Steelers. She threw an annual Steeler party at the post where she put up black and gold all over the place and her voice was usually the loudest in the bar when the boys scored or when Big Ben threw a pick. She was not a fan of Ben Roethlisberger.
    I went to her viewing after work yesterday. There was a nice turnout of family and friends, the Legion was pretty well represented. And the funeral home did a good job laying Coral out. She was dressed in black and gold and her coffin was covered in Steelers gear. Just the way she would have wanted it. Her family is asking guests to wear black and gold to the funeral. Gives me a chance to break out my new Stiller jersey.
     Coral continued working for us-- for no pay, by the way. She was a volunteer-- despite enduring great physical pain and she'd foregone getting much needed surgery. She was stubborn like that. But she's feeling no pain now.  She's probably in Heaven cussing somebody out right now.  She had a mouth on her. But she was good people. She worked hard all her life, brought a lot of money into our bar, and it will be hard to replace her, if that's even possible. RIP Coral.

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