September 02, 2004
I don't know what made me remember Ed today, but I did. He was one of the most interesting characters I ever met in my life.
Ed was a wrestler and a football player at Penn State many years ago. He was much more successful as a wrestler, because he played running back behind a guy named Lenny Moore on the football team. Ed might have been known as "snake-hips" in high school, but he wasn't snakey enough to keep Lenny on the bench.
Ed enlisted in the Air Force after college and flew some kind of cargo planes for a while. He ended his enlistment stationed at Hunter Field, which is how he ended up in Savannah. On his last night in the service, he got into a high-stakes poker game and won $5,000. That was his grub-stake to start a business of his own.
He bought a 50-year lease on an old warehouse on River Street. He and his friend bo swenson lived upstairs and slept on the floor. (Yes, I met movie-star Bo on several occasions. He visited Ed from time to time.) Ed turned the warehouse into the Port Royal Saloon, and he made a killing. He got into the bar business right when River Street started to take off as a tourist attraction.
I was the house band there, on and off, for almost three years. I played the Port Royal more than any other place I ever performed in. That's where I met Dora and Vonnie and Angel and LOTS of other wimmen. I also came to know Ed Pasco very well.
Ed was a strange fellow. He was big and barrel-chested from his wrestling days, and he served as his own bouncer in the bar. I saw Ed toss many a drunk out onto the cobblestones at night, and he could pick up a full keg of beer and hold it at arm's length in front of him. He was strong.
Ed had more money than Midas, but he stole tips from his bartenders. I also learned from experience that when Ed wrote you a check, cash it at the bar before you leave. That sumbitch check may not be worth anything at a bank. Ed did some odd financial transactions.
He died of lymph cancer a couple of years ago. He left his wife set, with property all over the place and lots of money in the bank. I saw Ed shortly before he died, and he was still the loud-mouthed, fast-talking yankee that he always was--- except he was half the size I remembered him being. Cancer does that to a person.
I know some people who want to go piss on Ed's grave. I don't. He made me angry, he fucked me out of money and he could be a real Jekyll and Hyde person. But he was unique.
I admire that quality in a person, and I believe that Ed died considering me his friend.
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