Kissing Eddie

There’s a gentleman in our neighborhood named Conrad. He recently turned 90 years old. He looks like a white-haired, white-whiskered version of Burl Ives. He has a resonant, baritone voice that rattles every window on the block and carries for miles. He walks laps around our cul-de-sac every morning. And every morning, Eddie and I see him when we’re out for our own constitutional.

Conrad’s wife, Lucille, passed away a year or so ago. Before she passed, Conrad used to get Lucille and her walker out for a slow stroll around at least part of the neighborhood. Lucille loved Eddie. Whenever Eddie and I would cross paths with her, I’d pick Eddie up so Lucille wouldn’t have to bend. She’d stroke his head and rub his ears. And she’d invariably kiss him.

One day shortly after Lucille passed, Anne and I were out with Eddie. We noticed Conrad outside his house and a car in his driveway we hadn’t seen before. We walked up the driveway to extend our condolences at Lucille’s passing. Conrad introduced us to the woman who’d arrived in the car we saw as his daughter, Mary Jane. Anne and I introduced ourselves to Mary Jane and said, “And this is Eddie.”

“That’s Eddie?!” Mary Jane exclaimed.

“Yes,” we said. “Is something wrong?”

“No. But I was reading my mother’s diary. And on many days, she’d written, ‘I saw Eddie today, and he kissed me.’ I didn’t think she could be having an affair, so I thought she might be having some kind of hallucinatory fantasy or something. I couldn’t figure it out.”

After we all had a good laugh at that, Anne, Eddie, and I went on our way.

Fast forward to last week. Eddie and I were out on a beautifully brisk October morning. So was Conrad. He was dressed in a heavy jacket, long pants, gloves, and a hat. I was wearing a light jacket, shorts, and flip-flops. As we passed Conrad, he stopped, lifted one of the headphones through which he was listening to an audiobook or opera, his two favorites, and thundered in that magnificent voice:

“It’s about time to retire that summer attire.”

And with that, he inspired this video:

Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brienhttps://obriencg.com/
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.