Whatever your faith, there is a season of goodwill and the love of family on holy days.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year,” Ebenezer Scrooge promised in A Christmas Carol.
Well written, Mr. Dickens. If I could keep that promise, then I would feel humanity to its depth.
My sister—Mary Hamrick Bostock—lost her husband to cancer last June. They lived every day, especially this past year, following Mr. Scrooge’s exultation.
Great distances kept me from knowing Robert “Boz” Bostock as well as others did. But I felt the outpouring of love from all who knew him well. A minister with a mouthful of platitudes did not lead the memorial service. Rather, it celebrated Boz’s passion for life, his wife, his children, and other family members; his over-the-top wild humor; generosity to his community; and his faith in friends, employees, and, yes, in general, humankind.
After the service, Mary and her family threw the epic (one of his favorite words) blast of a party. A blues band and another party band rocked the house while guests shared tasty bites, beverages, forever memories, some tears, and smiles all round. Boz went out with a bang—as he wished.
At the time, I jotted a memory of this great soul; those closest to him could have done better. He and Mary are my inspiration when I feel low, fearful, or out of sorts. I share it with you, though I willfully exceed the expected length of a blog post (300 words):
Boz led a life—61 years too short—that magnifies all that is good, true, loving, and fun. Yes, fun. Almost anybody who has lived on or ventured to St. Simons Island, Georgia, probably knew Boz or at least sampled his one-of-a-kind culinary delights. His restaurants—with a “flip-flop friendly” attitude—packed crowds year-round, with standing room only during spring break and summer vacation.
Sure, his food was a draw, but the warmth and wit of this laid-back, ever-grinning, eye-twinkling chef kept the folks coming back. Boz opened Gnat’s Landing, a clever take on St. Simons Island’s very short (would some say miniscule?) airstrip in 1999. He breezily welcomed visitors with local craft beer and a huge basket of fried pickle chips, and then the food-a-thon was on! Out for Boz’s good time, everybody loved and laughed about his menu—at least half of it fried food. In fact, they ate it up while lounging under the covered porch or dancing out back to the tune of the funky band-of-the-evening. Even on hot Georgia nights, the revolving fans and mason jars brimming with sweet iced tea kept it cool.
Across the way, quirky Bubba Garcia’s—where American style mixed with Mexican flair—opened a few years later. It sported Boz’s uniquely humorous brand. It’s the only place in the world where people could down the $8,000 Margarita (another story for another day) and treat themselves to Choco Taco dessert.
Who was this guy anyway? An island heritage, a loving family man, and everybody’s best friend—even back in the day when he taught and coached at Brunswick High School and later when he ran Father Goose, a toyshop loaded with gag gifts. The strings of colored lights festooning Gnat’s Landing may go dark tonight. But somewhere in heaven, God is munching a fried pickle chip and swigging extra sweet iced tea (or sneaking an imported beer).
Hold closely the ones dear to your heart. And laugh. What’s love got to do with it? Everything.