I had a friend leave today.
Just a couple of hours ago, in fact.
I say “leave” because he’s gone now. I don’t like to use the word lost, because even though he is gone our friendship remains. That’s just how it is with some friendships, and to be honest, ours was a bit weird. Not weird as in Scooby Doo and The Mystery Machine Gang, but weird in the sense that we were friends for a very short time before he went away.
I first met William “Bill” Bell at a festival I was headlining this past March. In fact, I met him on March 18, 2015, at about 4 in the afternoon, at a campsite in Lakeview, FL. We pulled in, I got out of the car, and before I had even been properly introduced, this bright-eyed, bearded, cigar smoking guy in a fishing hat hollers at me, “Ya ever had a Ginesca?”
My response: “I don’t think so. What the hell is a Ginesca?”
Bill grinned and said, “Gin and Fresca. It’s a refreshing summertime drink.”
The next thing I knew I had a Ginesca in one hand, a cigar in the other, and a camp chair under my ass. For the next five days, Bill and I killed bottles of Fresca and Gin, along with a box of cigars, and pretty much talked about everything that needed talking about when one has a refreshing summertime drink and a cigar in hand. We had many a “Fuckin’ A, Bubba” moment, told a lot of stories, and his extra flashlight dutifully saw me back and forth between my tent and the portolet. Suffice it to say – and I’m not afraid to say it – I fell in love with this guy. We struck up a friendship that was bound to last, and some in the camp even described it as our “Bromance.”
A couple of weeks after the event I got word that Bill had to go in for a quadruple bypass. I exchanged pleasantries with him on Facebook and told him I’d have a cold Ginesca waiting for him when he was up and around again. Unfortunately, sometimes life blindsides us at 4 PM on an idle Tuesday… There were complications, and Bill had remained in the hospital. Things grew progressively worse, and we all knew that the end was near. The reason for the 4 PM remark is that I received a phone call from a mutual friend at right about that time. They disconnected Bill from the life support today, and this afternoon, peacefully I’m told, he left.
Wherever he went, you can be sure there are Ginescas, Good Cigars, a Sailboat, and an ocean for him to sail.
And to that, all I have left to say is, Fuckin’ A, Bubba, but I wasn’t done hanging out with you yet…
I was asked on a Facebook thread about the proportions of a Ginesca. For those of you seeking a refreshing summertime drink, here you go:
A proper Ginesca, as explained to me by Bill himself, starts with ice in either a Solo cup or preferably your favorite camping cup/drink receptacle from your camping gear. How hard you have to work for the ice then has a bearing on your proportions.
Place ice filled cup on camp table and pour gin over ice while counting to 1000… or 3… it really depends upon how much you like gin. (That’s sort of the beauty of the Ginesca.) Top off with Fresca – this can come from either a two-liter bottle or a can, doesn’t matter. Stir with your finger then allow it to sit for a moment while you light a cigar. Romeo y Julieta is a good choice, as is Arturo Fuente. Dutch Masters and shit like that, not so much. Deposit ass in camp chair, puff cigar, tell a story while enjoying your Ginesca. Five minutes later, get up and mix another one. The real secret to the Ginesca, however, is that it is a thousand times better when shared with friends, new and old…