Everybody Loved Jack

I have mentioned my first cousin, Jack Lerner, several times as my companion during a few minor escapades in our earlier days. He was a good athlete, made letters at West Denver High School in baseball, tennis and golf. He was a friendly who made friends easily and was always willing to stop and talk with anybody and everybody anytime. When he came up to his 60th birthday, he decided that he was going to invite his friends to a birthday dinner he was giving for himself. So, he invited about forty of his closest friends and wanted me at the head table where I could be called on to make a speech being I was the oldest friend he had. One of his friends took me aside and said that I should be a party to a “roast” on Jack. But, I demurred and this was, in general, the speech I made.

Jack and his family lived together with me and my family in Chicago for five years. For reasons I can only speculate on, my family moved back to Denver right during The Big Depression and Jack and his family stayed for another six months. When Aunt Sarah, Jack’s mother, finally decided to return to Denver with Jack and Arnold David (also known as “Brute” Lerner later in Denver), they packed up and to leave by Greyhound Bus. The day they were scheduled to leave, Jack decided he had time to go out and play marbles for a short time and was sure he could win enough to give him a good start when they got to Denver. He had taken a bit longer than he should have, and came back, triumphant, with a medium size bag full of marbles. All of their bags had been packed and locked, so Jack was forced to carry the bag of marbles on the bus with him. After riding for several hours, Jack must have nodded off and wasn’t holding the bag as tightly as he should have. The bus went through a small stretch of bumpy road and the marbles fell off his lap and started rolling throughout the bus. This did not please the bus driver and he refused to stop his bus while Jack was trying to retrieve the rolling marbles. Jack got as many as he could, but many of the marbles were beyond his grabbing little hands.

At this point in my woeful tale, I told the audience as follows: “I must now tell all of you the terrible truth about my dear cousin, a truth I have kept for over 50 years. My cousin Jack has lived for 50 years with only half his marbles.”