Hot Dogs, Frostie’s, and Pinball; 52 remembers Sean Kilbane

1900036_10152133957754927_1429741242_nHe was always happy to see me.  He would always go out of his way to come over and say hi.  He gave me VIP treatment, and treated me like I was someone special.  That made me feel good when I would see Sean Kilbane at the Happy Dog.  Then I come to find out that is the way he treated everyone.  It doesn’t make me feel any less special it just makes me think more of the guy.  When I stopped drinking he bought me a Frostie Root Beer.  When I started drinking, he bought me a shot and a beer.   I remember being the “celebrity judge” at the first hot dog eating contest and nearly pissing ourselves watching local competitive eating phenom Tiny Tim Rauscheder down an entire tray of hot dogs.

When the Underdog was about to open he gave me a personal tour of the space and showed it off with this amazing sense of pride.  When I would host my Secondhand Mutts benefits at The Happy Dog he was always there working the bar, watching the bands, and handing me a giant envelope of cash at the end of the night with a smile on his face.  There was always something extra in there from Sean.  There was that knowing wink with the hand off that he might have padded the final total.  My math in my head never added up to the amount in that envelope.  It was always more than I expected.  Then last year he even paid a few bucks to the bands who donated their time.  He believed in this cause and was glad to help out the pups.

I only got to see him play once which is my own damn fault.  He played enough shows that I should have made it out to more.  He never gave me shit for that and he should have.  He wasn’t about the spotlight at all.  Never asked for a review, never asked for anything honestly.  He was always giving.  He always wanted to help.  We were going to talk about doing a live podcast from the Underdog, but I got busy, the weather got shitty, and I got lazy.  I meant to stop up to talk to him about the project, and of course he was interested.  We talked about getting me up to DJ at the Happy Dog one of these days.  He always wanted to know what I was up to.  Many folks say they read this thing, but I know they don’t.  I knew he did.  He would reference stuff I would say here.  He actually showed interest in what I was doing.  I was interested in him opening up the Euclid Tavern.  I was excited about the project.  I knew with Sean in the mix that project was going to rock and bring the soul back into that place.

I wasn’t his best pal, I was little more than an acquaintance.  He was doing his part to make Cleveland great.  I was doing my part to try to document it.  He was well loved by many people.  He treated me like a friend every time I got the chance to see him.  He made me feel like I was important.  The Happy Dog was seriously the 2nd place I went when I started blogging.  I’ve been back countless times since then.  I always felt welcome.  I’m going to miss this guy.  He was an innovator.  He was something special.  This sucks.

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