New Castle News

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October 25, 2013

Gary Church: In heaven there is no beer, but George is having plenty of laughs

NEW CASTLE — While growing up, most of my close friends were a little on the crazy side.

One guy who always kept me in stitches was George Budai.

George passed away last week.

The last time I talked to him, he had called me in the middle of the night. He wanted to know the name of the dog I had as a kid.

George, along with his brother, might have been slightly intoxicated at the time of the call.

The name of my dog was Peeky. That was not the name George was referring to.

Peeky used to hack a lot.

As I look back on his symptoms, I believe my 19-year-old dog had heart worms.

George thought he had asthma, and that is what he always called him, "Asthma."

That was the name he was looking for at 2 a.m. After a few laughs, I hung up and went back to sleep.

George, as a child, lived near the end of a dead-end street in Union Township.

He was my only friend that had an outhouse.

I never used it.

As teenagers, George and I went to the drive-in to see the movie “Psycho.”

I remember dropping him off on that lonely, dead-end street, and then driving home by myself.

I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that if anything had jumped out at me, I would have run them over, and not looked back.

I was scared to death. It took me years before I could take a shower with the curtain closed.

We also listened to music together. I remember one time a song came on by the Coasters called "Besame Mucho."

George thought they were saying Ethyl Mae Mucho and we laughed hysterically at the song.

It was a long time before I learned the real words. I still sing it Ethyl Mae when it comes on the radio.

Then there was the time I saved the life of George's brother, Jimmy's.

Bob Budai, Jimmy, and I went fishing off the Paper Mill bridge.

Jimmy was about 5 and accidentally slid off the rock we were on. I still remember the look of horror on his face, as he was going under the water.

I calmly said to Bob, who had his back turned to the event, "Your brother's drowning."

Bob reacted quickly and dived in and saved him.

I always tell Jimmy, that if it wasn't for me notifying his brother for help, he would have been a goner.

The reason I didn't dive in and save him? I couldn't swim either.

The neighborhood kids on Bluff Street were the best.

It's sad, but Pete, Ed, Karen, George, Regis, and Ronnie (Quizzy), are some of my neighbors who have left this earth before me.

I'm not saying there is any mischief going on in heaven.

But if you hear some strange laughing sounds coming from the sky, you'll know George is still doing his thing.

R.I.P., George.

It was my pleasure to be able to call you my friend.



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