December 25, 2013

"Everybody knew him. 'Happy New Year,' he called, and sometimes 'Merry Christmas.'"

"He said this all the time. At Christmas he said Happy Halloween."
Justin W. Brierly was shaking hands with everybody and saying “Good afternoon, how are you?” and when midnight came he was saying “Good afternoon, how are you?” At one point I saw him rushing the Mayor of Denver off somewhere. Then he came back with a middleaged woman; next minute he was talking to a couple of young ushers in the street. The next minute he was shaking my hand without recognizing me and saying “Happy New Year, m’boy.” He wasn’t drunk on liquor, just drunk on what he liked---thousands of people milling, and he the director of it. Dancingmaster Death indeed. But I liked him, I always liked J. W. Brierly. He was sad. I saw him threading through the crowd in loneliness.
Found in Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," as I search for "Christmas" in my collection of Kindle books.
A little boy came by on a tricycle. “Merry Christmas there. Don’t you think it might be better if you stayed on the sidewalk, someone might come by and make oatmeal out of you.” The little kid shot by in the street with his face pointed to the future. Brierly got in his car, U-turned, and threw a parting sally at the little boy. “When I was your age I was confident too. My mudpies were marvels of architecture. Eh?” Brierly and the little boy disappeared around the corner slowly then we heard him shoot the car ahead to businesslike affairs and he was gone.


Anonymous said...

At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden.

furious_a said...

"There he is. Old God Shearing."