I wrote this story last year. I want to re-post it today as I just heard that my friend Bun Ryan died today. He was a fine man and a good friend to me. I will miss him and remember him.
February 09th, 2013 | Category: February views
Every Saturday the three Bâ€™s meet at Violaâ€™s for breakfast. This ritual has been going on for years. Bill, Benny and Bun all well over 80 years old, they sit at the same table and Mary is always their waitress. Other regulars at Violaâ€™s on Saturday morning wave hello and smile at the boys. If one of them doesnâ€™t show up, concern is shown and phone calls are made.
Iâ€™ve been privileged to join them several times over the last few months, and Iâ€™m familiar now with most of their stories they tell again and again. I continue to laugh at them and I really enjoy the time.
I also continue to introduce myself to Benny. I tell him over and over again how it is I am sitting with them. â€œIâ€™m Bills daughter.â€ â€œOh, where did you grow up?â€ â€œHere in Los Alamos.â€ â€œOh.â€ â€œWhat is your name?â€ â€œJan.â€ â€œDo you know everyone at the table?â€ â€œYes, â€œ â€œHow?â€ â€œWell, Iâ€™m Billâ€™s daughter.â€ â€œOh, where did you grow up?â€â€¦.. And on it goes. I donâ€™t know much about Benny, but I do know he was firemen. He also tells me that his mother was a saint.
I prefer to sit near Bun. I’ve known him a long time and he is a riot; sober 47 years. Bun tells a story like nobodies business. He takes his time and draws you into the scene and before you know it, everyone is laughing. Bun had several careers over his life time, he worked at the labs and owned a bar called the Carriage Inn for three years before, as he says, he drank it into the Mis-carrarige Inn. He tells me, he was a social drinker. Whenever anyone would say theyâ€™d have a vodka or whiskey, he would say, â€œSo shall I.â€
Bun has taken me to a few meeting here. It is an honour to sit with such an icon in the program.
But Bun is most famous for his role as the pitcher on a five man softball team called The Pierotti Clowns. An incredible athlete in his day, he could pitch a softball 100 miles an hour. The Clowns entertained the public with charity games for years and raised over $250,000. for the Kiwanis club. I remember going to Clown games as a child. Sometimes Bun would joke around and would lob a painted white grapefruit at the batter, seeing their only chance to actually hit one of his pitches, they would swing as hard as they could. Splat! Sometimes he tossed a ball with an elastic band attached to it. Swing, a miss and a surprise! Mostly he just struck batters out.
This morning, Bun told me it wasnâ€™t the speed of the ball that mattered, it was what he was able to make the ball do, that made the difference. He said, depending on how he held it, the ball would drop or rise at his command. He showed me his hands, and in the same way Iâ€™ve looked at my teacher Samâ€™s hands, I saw the years of practice and knowledge in them.
All I had to do this morning was ask a few questions and the boys took it from there. I sat back, ate huevos with green chile, and was throughly entertained.