For Nicky Lewis From Johann Bleicher – Albany, Georgia – My Home Town

Your very mention of ‘banana knife’ sent a shiver thru me and a pain to my right index finger. Seriously! One Spring day in ’61 I got paid from Radium Springs,hitch hiked to town,saw The West Side Story(all Hispanics live on the west side of towns,Nick) and was compelled to stop by the pawn shop to purchase a long,narrow bladed knife.Back at Radium behind the concession stand and filled with the illusion that I could move like Riff(Russ Tamblyn) and that Anita(Rita Moreno) would lust for me upon witnessing me skewer a coke cup with my blade, I proceeded: Cup on counter, knife in hand, an acrobatic head dodge and thrust! A very low thrust that stuck the counter sliding my sweaty hand forward and my finger along the blade.HOLY SHIT!! I still have the scar and never again postured as a PuertoRicanPachucopugilistpunk. And I never really liked AnitaRita all that much anyway.
But tomorrow Nicky,the collar gets flipped,at least for a day,in honor of one whose character far transcended style. Johann.

What Johann said in his first paragraph perfectly describes the high level of Nick’s inherent good character: he had an unusually kind disposition. The friendship he offered was always easy and he was, indeed, the essence of ‘cool.’

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Vic Miller, Johann Bleicher – Ellijay, GA 2012