Saturday, July 8th, 2006
To get things started, this is Jon at a Labor Day party in 2003. He always did clean up nice. We suspect that he's looking at a standing offer from one of his relatives, the standing offer being to trade in his innocent, tepid Coke for something with a bit more kick.
Here, again, is the shot of the pool area, taken from the treehouse in the northeast quadrant of the backyard. It's about 9 AM. Notice Bailey, the tawny dot in the center of the shot. Beethoven's 6th Symphony ("Pastoral") plays in the background (not really). All is soft light and calm. It is the quietest it will be all day.
Once the party began, J. got right to "work"...
...and so did I.
Sheri Heald, an aunt of mine, favors designer club-ready sunglasses and bawdy stories. She does not dance on top of Escalades in the wee hours, no, not ever.
Kristin Taylor, a former Playboy bunny, married Mikhael Lobko, the famous Texas oil baron, in 1993. She is still after his boundless fortunes - but their love is real.
Throughout my stint as default bartender, cousin Brandon my invaluable assistant and aide-de-camp. We took our jobs pretty seriously. Here we're engaged with the task of eyeing the spirit level for yet another guest and reveler, all of whom were patient and good tippers.
J., clearly, is having incredible amts. of fun in the course of playing Godzilla for some of the younger partygoers.
Kaitlin, Kristin, and Kelly Farmer (aka Farmgirl).
Nadia Lobko, matriarch, and Wladimir ("Bill") Lobko, host.
Newest Filonovich (and member of the family) Ava and mother Zenaida.
Every summer, Alex Klimchuk takes the I-90 east toward the Camillus backyard of his Uncle Bill, which has usually been set upon by children, picnickers, swimmers, and eaters of barbecue - all of them potentially usurpers of his Favorite Chair. With extreme prejudice and with a variety of lethal implements - maces, truncheons, halberds and sai - Alex reclaims his seat. In this shot, the battle has only just ended, and the victor enjoys what's his.
Tanya LeBeau and Aiden Deuschle. You might remember Aiden from his christening back in April. He still has flashbacks.
J. and Nadia.
Peter Filonovich knows what's in your heart of hearts, and it amuses him.
Zachary, Dan, Mike, Nate, Chris, Justin, Tyler (kneeling). These were Jon's compadres when it came to weightlifting, drinking, and various petty crimes I've been enjoined to never reveal. And look at these fine young fellows: how could I snitch on them?
This cannonball garnered 10s across the board.
Stephanie and Melissa.
The Soul Vodka toast didn't happen all at once, but rather made the rounds between the various groups. Here we've got Jon's inner circle, doing their own toast. For my part, being in this circle with Jon's best friends was the highlight of the entire day. By far the best moment.
Peter and Melissa.
The good qualities of Jon's friends are here explicated, with some eloquence, by Maureen.
Stories about Jon. Some feat of Jon's strength or general hubris has just been detailed.
You can't see them in this shot - and possibly they did this after this photograph was taken - but Jon was very much present when the fellows marked the day by searing cigar marks into each others' biceps. It should be noted that this act wasn't exactly condoned by anyone burdened with a legal responsibility for guests' safety or anything such, but it was one of the moments in which Jon could be most felt. He was that throaty theatrical voice you heard in your head, demanding that you do it!
J. not only saves lives; he is also a good listener.
Kristin, Farmgirl, Kaitlin, and Shannon. Kristin doesn't like this picture of her. The other three ladies disagree. Democracy's great, except when you lose, Kristin!
There are now about 2 minutes of Dave's shoulder on the digital video Bill's filming here.
Peter and Max.
Phil Mathis, Jon's best friend. Now he designs missiles (or something) for a defense contractor in Jersey. I hope your missiles drop warheads of crayons and Hershey Kisses, there, Phil. No, really, good work.
You must not be wearing enough Corona-approved apparel. Fair disclosure: Bill is turning this video over to the Thought Police as you read this.
And as evening begins to fall, the faces grow shinier and the smiles wider.
An impromptu recitation of Albert Goldbarth's Combinations of the Universe has nothing on the fount of memorized Robert Frost and Shakespeare's sonnets that is Dave Geary.
Brian Pitt, Tasha's husband, felled the tinder for this flawless fire with the strength of his will alone, and supplied the spark with his own Paul Bunyanish confidence.
Sometimes all you can do is nosh and stare at the flames.
Rich Turner, Abbi Turner, and myself. Jon had an abundance of cigars in a variety of humidors. We dug into these at around 12 or 1. Let's submit this photograph as proof that all of the evening's activities were as respectable and cultured. Although they were not.
And we hope you approved, Jon. We missed you.