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Goodbye, My Brother!

Russel Edward "Spunky" Dalrymple: Another homie checks out of Aztlan and the Land of 1000 Dances

By Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: January 12, 2011


Goodbye, My Brother!


Goodbye, my Brother...

....another homie checked out on me this past Monday night...and once again, my heart hurts and my eyes water, as the warm winds of Aztlan carry another soul away from many a friend and loved one...

Mr. Russel Edward "Spunky" Dalrymple de Bassett, Cailfornia, a bad ass vato loco, a proud U.S. Marine, and proud son of a decorated WW II U.S. Marine and survivor of the infamous "Bataan Death March" checked out this week after battling cancer for over a year‘«™he was one of the best friends a guy could ever have.

Over the course of almost 43 years, this guy was the kind of guy you could rely on to join you for a beer, a party, hard times, sad times, good times, crazy times, laughs, tears, and in our younger days, a good old fashioned street or bar fight‘«™just a telephone call away....and like my late older brother Bobby, he was good at all of them‘«™.and could keep you laughing even when spending the night in jail with you.

For me, his compadre, he was always there with an open wallet, car keys, or a shoulder, along with a well placed joke or wisecrack whenever I needed it‘«™.and I needed him more than a couple of times over the years...thanks, carnal!

He was a big, tall, muscular guy, who fought his way into every circle he was ever a part of because of his last name. He looked Chicano to the bone, but when people would question his last name or ethnicity, he was ready to prove he was 100% RAZA warrior at the drop of the hat‘«™and he did many a time...and people respected him for that.

He tangled with some of the meanest guys on the block in the old neighborhood, and among many a hard ass Chicano in the Marine Corps, both overseas and at home‘«™and earned respect and friendship each time‘«™he whupped a lot of ass in his day‘«™to say the least.

Despite the hard line he was required to walk when young, Spunky always had a generous good heart, a sarcastic sense of humor , a comfortable laugh, and a gentle side with women and kids.

He baptized my first born child, and my daughter loved him unconditionally for 36 years.

When he suffered the loss of a divorce, he stepped up to the plate and raised his 2 sons and 2 daughters by himself without complaint., never re-marrying or entering into any subsequent relationship..and earned the respect of everyone in the neighborhood as he held his head high while taking his kids trick or treating, Christmas shopping, or just visiting friends in the 'hood...he loved his children openly and unabashedly...and they loved him back.

He intimidated a lot of people with his size, aggressiveness, and loudness, but once you got past that, you saw what a great guy he was, and women who came to know him LOVED to playfully argue with him about almost any subject in life in colorful conversations that could last for hours...he would have made a great comedian.

For someone who knew and remembered him as the big, powerful man and Marine and vato loco that he was, it broke my heart to see him in the hospital slipping away to the cancer that eventually claimed him...but I whispered to him how much I had loved him, but never got a lot of chances to tell him so, the night I said goodbye just before he left us......he gave me a brief smile through his comatose state as if telling me "I know, carnal...."...the next night he was gone.

I will miss you, Spunky....you and I shared a lot of adventures in life together, Brother, and I'll NEVER forget you and the big part of my life that you were....

..save me a seat up there, Carnal....YOU KNOW I'll come looking for you when I get there!

siempre tu camarada, home~boy, and best friend,

Frank "Smokey" Arzaga de Bassett, Califas
aka Frankie Firme

About Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone and the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul...and his heart hurts as he mourns the loss of yet another influential Chicano in his life
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