I don't like change and a big one is coming into my life today.
This morning, I'm thinking back - thinking of fond memories.
Over seven years ago, the then new News Editor at CityBeat and I were having a smoke in the break room. This was back at the paper's old location at 7th and Vine and back in the days when you could smoke in an office building. The new guy was named Gregory Flannery.
I don’t recall how the subject came up, but we started talking about martinis and how neither one of us had ever tried one. While smoking a second cigarette, we decided we would experience our first one together.
A couple weeks later, we did just that. We went down to nearby Madonna’s and had martinis. We both agreed they tasted like gasoline.
More sooner than later, the martinis went by the wayside, but our getting together did not. Turns out, we enjoyed each other’s company.
Over the course of the next few years, Citybeaters would come to know this weekly event as Greg and Larry’s “important business meeting.” The meetings were held at Madonna’s, then The Washington Platform – then back to Madonna’s and then other places, but it’s always been our weekly ritual. Sometimes guests are invited, but most of the time it’s just me and Greg.
Seven years ago, I worked in the accounting department at the paper, but I was a want-to-be writer. Greg was the seasoned news writer and editor. He took me under his wing and showed me how to make my writing better. Because of Greg, I started to get more writing assignments at CityBeat. If I’m anything as a writer, I probably owe that to Greg. More than once, we talked about my writing while having drinks during our weekly meeting.
Those meetings continue on to this day and we’ve had other adventures too. We’ve been everywhere from Yellow Springs, Ohio to Seattle, Washington. We literally ran to catch a plane in Dallas, Texas and made fun of a bar in Greensburg, Indiana. We always have ourselves a time.
Some of these adventures have made me a little uneasy. Greg is always true to himself and he stands up for what he thinks is right and wrong. He's no stranger to arrests or civil disobedience.
I remember a few years back, Greg planned on being arrested during a protest downtown against the war we're currently in. I walked with him during the protest but I had no plans to get arrested and didn't want him to either, but he had his mind made up. I did bring a camera with me as Greg wanted me to take pictures of his arrest.
When it happened, I got the camera out and started snapping pictures. I was getting myself in trouble by getting too close to the police car. Greg was more concerned about that than those tight handcuffs behind his back. That's the kind of guy he is.
To those who don't know him, he comes across very friendly and kind of quiet. If you're lucky enough to know him, he's generous to his friends. I know this, because I've been down on my luck lately - down but not out.
When a person goes through this kind of down cycle, they really find out who their friends are. Throughout my emotional ups and downs, Greg has been there for me. I'm better now but frankly, I don't know what I would have done without him. I'm writing about this here, because I want him to know how I feel and how much I appreciate his help.
Over seven years later and all the things we have experienced together and/or talked about - I can’t imagine not having him in my life. When I say Greg is like a brother to me, I don’t mean anything less than that. He’s truly my best friend.
Today is Greg’s last day as News Editor at CityBeat. As I said at the top of this post, I don’t like change and I sure the hell hate this one – but Greg thinks it’s time to move on. I don’t like his decision one bit, but I respect Greg.
There’s no doubt in my mind that our friendship will continue – that those business meetings will live on, but it’s a sad day. In fact, it's beyond that for me. Things will never be the same at CityBeat and I will miss him terribly.
Later this afternoon, CityBeat will have Greg’s farewell cocktail hour. Maybe just for old time’s sake, we’ll drink some martinis.
Greg my friend, I love you.
- Larry Gross
(Photo from CityBeat)