FEBRUARY 24, 1997
Richard was a character, much fun, a fine actor, a smooth and knowledgeable government fellow.
Photo by Oscar Roloff.
by Oscar Roloff
Though Richard McCloskey has since crossed the Great Divide, I'll never forget him. He had a unique sense of humor. One day, his Seattle paper didn't arrive. He walked one mile to Bothell and bought a new one.
Being retired from the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, he wasn't as brisk as a kid. He needed to be fortified and dropped into a place to get a good drink. He didn't cotton to low-class drink, no Corps' man drops that low. A couple of bucks or more is his glass of bourbon.
After finishing the tall glass, Richard sauntered up the hill to home. He sat down to write a letter to the newspaper's publisher, explaining he wanted not only the cost of the paper, but the cost of the drink.
They sent him a check. They knew him and feared his wrath.
Now and then I'd visit the two, his wife, Ruth, a Corps member, too, and Richard. He always looked sharp. Wore the best of tweed and top cloth. Corps expectation. Made my clothes look like they came from a low-class thrift shop.
We'd talk about things in common. Often, my wife Elaine would accompany me. He'd invite us, saying, "Come around eleven."
Oh yes, their house was tastefully groomed. (Probably the wrong word to use.)
Anyhow, we'd chew the fat and have a couple of drinks. That's enough. He didn't have the cheap stuff. All high-class and strong. I don't like to lurch home. I have a reputation to maintain, I think.
Then, all of a sudden, Richard would calmly arise. We'd sit there, not knowing what to do. Finally, we would get up, thank him and leave. Same with the next time. I then asked a Corps man in Seattle about Richard's behavior. He said, "Oh, in the Corps, we have drinks from 11 p.m. to midnight; then we have dinner."
Richard once told me, "I'm a 7th grade dropout, but when I retired from the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, my rank was equivalent to that of a general." He was a suave, debonair, charming man. Having traveled worldwide, he could speak on any subject. It was a pleasure to have known him.
I've met so many fine people. But darn it--those characters like Richard are gone. I'm lonely.