Carlton's Tribute

Irresponsible! Brash! Juvenile!! Brat! Delinquent! You're so stupid for one so brilliant!! Reckless!! Thunder Stealer!!! .... All names that everyone's heard her call me more than a million times over!!

.... And just look what she goes and does!!

As I told someone yesterday ... she always prided herself on making things count- the one time she did something stupid in her entire life ... she had to make that count too !!!

2 days ago we were at Allen's funeral service and she came out of church and told Priya Mendens, “ Pri, I can die tomorrow,  I've done everything I've had to.”

And that was who she was. She would never go to bed at night without making peace with herself and the world. And if you asked any mirror on any wall, she had to be the fairest of them all. Fearless to the point of foolhardiness (even fearless of death). There was nothing that ever, ever threw her off guard.


Her favorite book was Richard Branson's ‘Screw it Lets do it’ and just the morning of the madness she said “Let’s have coffee.” and she talked about the many things she was doing: the restaurants, the and the radio, the people in the organization (the one thing she prided herself most about was the fact that she was an incredible motivator.)

I said “Why do I need to get involved if you’re on top of it all?” and she said, “If only you'd show some excitement and enthusiasm about anything I do. It’s not that you don't like, or aren't proud of any of the stuff we've done, I need a sounding board and you are the only one I can talk to.”

We had an understanding with Opus and everything that our lives were about ... I would find ways to bring the people in and be the front so to speak, and she would look after them. And look after them she did, from being behind the bar to taking orders at tables to even breaking up brawls.

It's really, really ironic that we had to give her up bang in the middle of ' the Joy of Giving ' week. ‘Cause no one . And I mean no one could give as much, or knew what that joy was ... or was more selfless than her! I always told her “people take advantage of you all the time.” but she said “You continue being a grouchy cynical crank!” and carried on regardless-she would rather not go somewhere, than go empty handed  and never ever, ever expected anything in return.

Her, rather, our home, was everyone's home. Down to the last detail. You'd even get a fresh toothbrush in the morning. She really was the epitome of hospitality. And, as it is with the sign-off line at the new venture: You could check out any time you liked. But you really could never leave .   

They say marriage is not just a word, it’s a sentence… for life.… Jeena… Gina… same difference….

Webster says  ‘life, n, state of being alive…. …active, sprightly, spirited, vivacious, vitality, vigour ….. ….a continued opportunity of remaining in the game….. …career… …union between body and soul… …animation, liveliness, charged with energy…. …eternal happiness’  I don’t know about that but the rest were so, so true.... Maybe in time I'll realise the eternal happiness too.

Gina!!! What a life she led! What a wife she was! And when I told her I didn't deserve her- which I did many times over she always turned around and said “Don't fool yourself! I'm not with you because I love you. I'm with you out of spite. And to save the rest of womankind.”

And if I asked how she could put up with me, she said, “I have a wonderful gift. The ability to ignore you.” It was really one of her finest qualities. To take the good (not that there was much one would expect in me) and completely ignore the bad.

Somebody asked me about the inscription on the coffin. I think it was the really early days and we watched Dennis the Menace- she loved those kinds of movies. And Dennis is running down the street and he shouts, “Mrs. Wilson ... you’re the best gal on the block!” And she's always repeatedly asked me this question: “Am I still your best gal on the block?” And she was. I may have not shown it publicly. And she used to say “Ya ya! Let’s not spoil your playboy image.”  But undoubtedly she was!

I'll end with the words of a song that we've always wanted to sing together but she thought she couldn't do justice to. A song that James Ingram and Tony Bennett have both done.

How do you keep the music playing? How do you make it last
The more I love the more that I'm afraid
That in your eyes I may not see forever
How do you keep the song from fading too fast
If we can be the best of lovers
Yet be the best of friends
If we can try with everyday to make it better as it grows
With any luck, then I suppose
The music never ends

I'll be selfish and do one more song to end ... 'Cause she always said, “The only reason I stay married to you is your voice.”

So this one is for that Superwoman, Rockstar, GI Joe, Warrior Princess (a few of the many names that people called her!)