We arrive in The City where Sam and Nadine live and where Sly and Doris lived until they moved a few years ago. I like The City. I would live there. It's a mid-size city with a lot to offer: pretty neighborhoods, good food, and good friends. Primo even considered moving there after he left Bertha, but Sly and Doris were still there, along with his mentally-ill drug addict sister, Nancy, and he did not want to get caught up in The Drama. His parents had already said they were moving away, but Primo was pretty sure that if he told them he was moving back to The City, they would have stayed there. I don't think I could have married him if his parents had lived in the same city. Five states away is not far enough.
So. We are in TC. Sam, Primo and I have left the memorial service in Sam's car. Nadine and the kids are in another car. We drive past Primo's old house. The one his parents, who are against school vouchers, bought because it was in the school district they liked for Primo. The house after they sued to get him in another school district because theirs did not offer the programs they wanted for Primo. But heaven forbid someone with less money to buy in a better district, without the education to know to sue, have access to better opportunities for his children. Let them move house, Sly and Doris would say.
Sam has known Sly almost as long as he has known Primo. He met Primo on the plane to their freshman year of college. We are talking about Sly and how he is different from Sam's dad. Sam's dad was gruff, but nice underneath. Sly is not like that.
Primo tells the story of the watercolor cartoon he found and bought for Sly several years ago.
"It's just like my dad," he says. "The guy has his nose in the air and is looking down. The caption says, 'I'm not arrogant. I just happen to be right.' When my dad saw it, he got really mad. Really mad. My mom had to change the caption to 'We're not arrogant. We just happen to be right.'"
Sam says, "Your dad needs to get a sense of humor. I hate it when people can't laugh at themselves."
Laughing at himself would not be one of Sly's core competencies.
Later that evening, Primo asks me if I think 80 people would show up for his dad's memorial service like showed up for Sam's dad.
I say carefully, "Your dad doesn't live here any more."
Primo agrees, but we both know that even if he did, Sly would not get that kind of turnout.