Jimmy was one of those rare teenagers who take an interest in kids so he was my hero. He had a sailboat and he took us sailing, but not as often as I wished. One day I begged him to take me out for a sail and he said Introibo ad altare Dei. He said he'd take me sailing if I could tell him what that meant. He was an altar boy and had the Latin mass memorized. Though I'd been hearing these words weekly for years I didn't realize it was the opening line of the mass. In my fantasy life I said "I will go to the altar of the Lord, Psalm 42. Let's go sailing!" In reality, I was stymied.
When Jim was in college he had a summer job delivering mail in the town of Hull south of Boston. Hull is a five mile long peninsula. Along most of the main road you can see the ocean to one side and the bay to the other. One hot day while riding my bike, I came across Jim delivering mail and magazines to the cottagers. He had the full USPO uniform and heavy leather bag, with the dropbox key chained to his belt. I followed along, chatting away until we reached the local drug store. Break time. Jimmy bought me my first lime rickey. Ah, delicious on a hot summer's day.
Jimmy thought I would leave him alone after that, but no, I was ready to go the distance. He was too nice to tell me to beat it, but he did give me his jacket and asked me to drop it off at his house a couple of miles away. I don't know about this next part for sure, but I can imagine him returning to the drug store to call his mother. "Joey will be dropping off my jacket in a few minutes. If he plans to rejoin me give him a lime rickey."
" I mean a glass of ZaRex."
Indeed, when I reached the house, Aunt Anna offered me a glass of ZaRex which I accepted. ZaRex was a sweet fruity syrup you mixed with cold water. I just learned that Babe Ruth used to pour it over chipped ice during his time with the Red Sox. When he was sold to the Yankees, Ruth said it was the one thing he missed about Boston.
Aunt Anna offered me a refill, but I declined. "I have to go home and study my Latin," I said.