Remembering Al

I don’t really recall how Al Bruno and I met. Al was two years older than me and had been sent to military school, so it was not High School. I seem to remember Hogan’s Pub as the first place we spoke. We hit it off right away, both of us being blessed, or cursed, with a rather bizarre sense of humor. I was home from college for the summer, the Stones album “Let It Bleed” was our soundtrack, and everything was loose and cool. We became almost inseparable when not with our lady friends, and it was a time of beaches, beer and warm summer nights. Things were less complicated then.
No one has ever made me laugh like Al did. One afternoon, we rented a rowboat from Louie’s dock to go fishing. Armed with sandwiches, lots of beer, sand worms and poles, we set out into a perfect August afternoon. We drank the beers, ate the chow and got good and sunburned. Never even had a nibble on our hooks and could not care less. When the beer and food was gone, I suggested we head back to the dock. I said “too bad we didn’t bring any saltines, there are lots of sand worms left.” Al’s reply was, “Jesus Christ, that gross. I hate saltines.” There are a million Al stories I will tell, but I’m going to do them over time, taking one at a time. Al Bruno can hardly be summed up in this brief passage. He possessed blazing intelligence, but I wonder how many people who knew him really were aware of this. His humor was of the rare variety that went over the heads of most of his audience. My late Mother, an extremely bright woman herself, saw the real Al and loved him and his idiosyncrasies. My Father found him baffling. One evening when Al and I were preparing to go out after visiting with my folks, my Father commented quietly that Al was not playing with a full deck. My Aunt Gwen, who was visiting and quietly observing, said “You may be right, but if anything, that guy has too many cards.”
I graduated from college, and Al and I decided to share an apartment. It was a mistake . We were too much alike to be around each other 24/7, and it wasn’t long before the traits we’d found fun became aggravating. We separated on fairly bad terms and Al moved out of town. I ran into him in a bar many years later. He seemed to be with a client or business associate, and was none too glad to see me when I went up to say hello. I didn’t push it. I lost track of him, heard he’d moved to Texas, and then nothing. I was too proud to seek him out. Shame on me.
My friend Tim called me two nights ago to tell me Al Bruno had passed away that day. My first thought was that the World had become a less interesting place without Al Bruno in it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Friends, Here and Gone

One Comment on “Remembering Al”

  1. Melinda Humphrey Says:

    Boys will be boys

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