Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sid's Passing

In Newport Beach, California there is a place known only by locals that offers steaks as good as anything at Morton's, a Scotch selection you can't find West of NYC, and live Jazz. You won't ever find it no matter how hard you look because it is in a semi industrial area, on a side street accessable only from a neighborhood, and has no sign.
Sid's. The name alone invokes memories of lazy Sunday afternoons and evenings sipping Scotch and smoking cigars in lawn chairs by the chain link fence next to the boat yard. Friday's with popping Jazz and some of the most beautiful women in the world posing and posturing for the weel heeled men who loved this place. Saturday's when the younger crowd showed up wearing baggy pants and slammed a few brews before heading off to wherever they go these days. Weeknights when you could actually find a miss matched chair at a table with one leg shorter than the others or get one of the few bar stools and look back at everyone from the mirror behind it. I was there often but never enough. I loved this place and am forever grateful to Mighty Fine Dodge for introducing me to it.
Not everyone got the vibe or understood what Sid's was all about. If you called for directions they would not give them to you. Since you did not know already you didn't need to know. Sid had enough customers and id not need anymore. If you asked for salt and pepper Sid would come out and ask what was wrong with the food. Once he was gone that fell on his staff and they followed his orders from Las Vegas. You just did not question Sid or his staff. It was Sid's way or no way and that was OK by me.
Sid was an iconoclast and one of the last of the truly free spirit Californians out there. Sid harangued the Costa Mesa city council, was an activist for unpopular causes, and then ran to Nevada because he had a bench warrant out for his arrest. Had he been incarcerated it would have made for great court TV.
I have not thought much about Sid's for the past few years. The war has all my attention these days, attention I try to parcel to my loved ones. I don't have a lot of time for reminiscing. I was jolted back to those days in California by an email from MFD today. Those days when I was with friends, making bank, and loving life. My family could not understand why I stayed after my divorce and just lived the life I wanted. They didn't until they came to visit. I took them to Ducks games, Disneyland, San Diego, Hollywood, Tijuana, and Big Bear. Then I took them to Sid's. Now they understood.

Those days will come no more. I left California for a more stable future and Sid passed away. No, let me rephrase this because Sid did nothing half way. Sid probably died kicking and screaming. He most likely arrived at the pearly gates and announced that St. Peter was under arrest for making false promises to people. He is probably trying to run Heaven's DFAC and if anyone asks for ketchup he will run out in his food stained, was white at one time, tee shirt and yell, "What's wrong with it? I made it perfect. After all this is heaven and everything is perfect."
RIP Sid. The Golden State is a little tarnished today because you are gone.


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