As a curmudgeon, he excelled. He seldom smiled. But when he laughed, you felt honored. He was one of the "benchanistas" who inhabited el jardin daily from about 10AM until 11:45, precisely. He would head home at 11:45 for lunch with Baby trailing behind him. What a sight!
We met when I first came to San Miguel ten years ago. "Met" is a loose term for sitting down next to him on the bench and conversing. Not about anything important, but about the weather, his dog Baby that was his constant companion until about six months ago when she died, and how good looking the women were along with how cute the kids were. That was the gist of our conversations for a year or so. He was a private man.
Little by little, I was able to peel the layers back and find out about his contributions to society in his business and personal world. He had managed hotels in the Carolinas and also been a successful stockbroker. He had a grown daughter and a daughter who had passed on almost forty years ago. He was married to a lovely lady in San Miguel.
When my daughter died in 2004, and all I could do at that point was sit on the bench for a little while and then go home again, he shared with me the story of the loss of his daughter. After forty years, he still cried. So, he was really not a curmudgeon but a softy. He was very kind to me during that time. I'll never forget.
We were absolutely at the opposite end of the spectrum politically so we NEVER brought that subject up. I always looked forward to our chats upon my return from some trip or another. He always seemed, in his low key way, to be glad to see me.
Well, last week I looked for Bryan - no Bryan - and on Friday when I asked someone, I was informed he had died. Zap! I was really, really sorry about losing that wonderful 84 year old man who I had shared so many conversations with.
I don't think I'll ever head to the jardin again, or sit on the bench, that I don't think of my dear friend Bryan. He was a cool dude.