We're gonna miss ya, Georgie G
It has been a bewildering few days. How to process the death of the man who was so full of life?
We miss you, man.
Our greatest bon vivant, co-owner of Mr. G's, died of a heart attack a few days ago. Plenty of words have ping-ponged through my mind in tribute of George Gianakos, that gloriously entertaining soul. But the words have been aimless. So many stories to tell about our friend taken from us. So many stories. Yet no one story defines him.
Surely, his friends could fill column space with their favorites (like the time he mixed his Ideal Protein shakes with Rum Chata.) But there has to be more. There IS more to George. And then one day last week over coffee, our mutual friend Gordon Videll unwittingly provided an epiphany.
"It's amazing to think about how many different people had a piece of George," Videll said.
Boom. And there, really, is George's legacy. Everybody has a George story. Stories about golf, gambling, parenting, excuses not to exercise, drinking, needling, helping people, big-heartedness, food, "isn't George supposed to be working today?" and hundreds of others.
And we're all going to miss George in our own way.
And maybe that's the point. Maybe George's death ought to be giving us a new respect for life. Daily life. In-the-moment life. Was anybody else more in the moment than Georgie G?
I'm about to share something a friend of mine wrote in May. It's about the concept of missing somebody or something. My friend is named Karen Bruscini, a medicine woman, nurse, spiritual adviser and person of unlimited compassion and insight. She wrote:
"We all miss something from time to time. We miss our bus. We miss our lunch break. We miss our loved ones. Missing can be a word of longing. Teaching. Loving. Being present. Longing for something that brought us something we failed to realize at the time we had it. Much like Dorothy's red shoes.
"We miss how much we treasured it. How much it taught us. How deeply and richly we loved. Missing teaches us to be present. To be present where we are. In life, in time, in every moment of our lives.
"Someone I know lost his glasses tonight at work. I laughed and joked with him about where they might be. But why and how they were lost, he didn't have a clue! His aim at being present was lost in shuffling through trash and linen. How he treasured those glasses. How he loved his moments looking through those old glasses. How he learned to adapt to the stories he saw through those small little windows.
"But what if he was supposed to learn to miss his glasses in order to see his world from different windows? Missing is probably what you were supposed to do all the while. To see what truly is."
Karen tells us that it's OK to miss George. In all our own unique ways. But that he leaves behind a lesson: His passing invites us to see the world through different windows. We can't get him back. But we can sure be more present in our daily lives, appreciating the people, places and things around us. As George did.
It was very much like George to acknowledge every patron who came through the door at 452 Williams St. And while he would often launch into George-like stories — always free but never solicited — he always made people felt like they mattered. He talked to everybody. He was present. He was never wishing time away waiting for the next big thing. Every moment was a big thing. We can learn from that.
I made it a point to get to G's Friday night after covering a baseball game. Same rattle and hum as ever. But the regulars wore a different look. We are shaken. In our own way. Mine: There's a new photo of George and Peter hanging in the bar I couldn't look at. I miss the big lug.
And that's OK. Because missing George reminds me to be more present. To appreciate all the little things that happen to us every day. To appreciate the good and bad, the friendships and happy hours, a little more. As Aerosmith reminds us, "sing it with me, if it's just for today, maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away."
He took Georgie. For His reasons. Now we are left to cope. And process. We'll always miss you, George. That means you'll never be forgotten.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
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