Allenstown will carry legacy of ‘Curly’ Vezina for years to come

  • Curly Vezina (right) and his son, Fred. Courtesy

For the Monitor
Published: 10/18/2019 6:19:34 PM
Modified: 10/18/2019 6:19:22 PM

Curly has left the building. We lost him. And it stings.

Paul “Curly” Vezina from Allenstown, took his last gasp of breath sitting in a rocking chair looking out onto River Road at dusk last Sunday. No one could have predicted his death. Not even considered it. Curly won’t live forever, most thought, but surely he’d outlast us all.

At 72 years old, the man had the boundless energy of a young buck with a pronounced limp. He was always kicking around town, either in the backroom of a convenient store, or organizing his barn, or at the Rod and Gun Club. Maybe working his garden, dumping his trash, plowing his driveway or laying into some sad sack at the bar for saying something stupid, sports related or otherwise, as he held court at The Cavern in Pembroke, sipping down on his allotted three Bud heavies ... well, at that joint.

Then, poof, just like that, the world changed for many.

The ringleader is gone.

Curly was many things to many people – a cantankerous raconteur, a Santa Claus stand-in, a skydiver, a Navy vet, father, husband, grandfather, a man so embedded in the small town you’d think that if there were a tag attached to Allenstown/Pembroke it would list “Curly” as one of its main fabrics.

And Curly was a friend of the highest caliber, the kind that tells it like it is, warts and all, whether you liked it or not. If you were acting the fool, he’d let you know, with enthusiasm. If he was doing the same, he expected to be pounced upon with equal vigor. A real man’s man.

I met Curly 25 years ago, when on a Christmas night, I was alone in the basement of my home with my older siblings long gone and my parents cornered off into separate rooms.

Then the phone rang. It was my buddy Fred, Curly’s only son, the athletic director at Pembroke Academy. Fred told me to come to his parents house and forget about that miserable scene, let’s celebrate.

“But it’s Christmas night, Fred.” I said.

“That’s right, buddy.” Fred said. “It’s Christmas. Get your butt up here.”

My father was sitting in the den, smoking a cigarette, when I asked if I could go to Fred’s house for the night. “Two questions.” is all he asked. “Who’s Fred? And who gives a damn?”

With that, I took a bottle of wine out of the liquor cabinet and headed north. An hour later, I swear, my life changed forever. Fred’s parents home was filled with children and food and legions of merry adults, high on friendship, beer, love and laughter. I knew at that very moment that “this” is what I wanted for my life. This was life. This was living. And Curly was leading the charge, ratcheting up the merriment, making sure everyone was having the best Christmas they ever had.

Upon hearing of Curly’s passing, I nearly threw up outside my truck. Some deaths hit you harder than others. This had hammer strength. Oddly, my heart first turned to my good friend, Wally, who, like myself, escaped to New Hampshire 20 years ago, finding not only the home he always dreamed of, but a place where he could recreate the man he once was.

To Wally, Curly was his best friend. Hardly mattered that 24 years separated the pair. They were always together – drinking, laughing, gossiping and pontificating about things they pretended to know about.

Every Saturday morning, Wally would head over to Curly’s house to borrow his pick up truck for a “dump run.” These “dump runs” took hours upon hours to complete, what with all the visiting the couple needed to do along the way. First, a gab session in the barn, then to see Eddie and the boys at the store, then maybe to cook up some eggs at the Rod for the early birds. Finally, a quick stop at Cav’s for one last cool down, say hello to the ladies behind the bar.

Only then would that trash get tossed.

I thought of his loving wife of 49 years, Pam, the glue that held it all together, the person that fed and loved the man who rallied so many others to live hard and live well.

Fred, his son, is a bull. He’d endure. Stoic as they come, with his granite chin held high, Fred will muscle through this tragedy, shedding tears only he will see. Nikki, Curl’s baby girl, gets to look into her own daughters blinding blues eyes and see her father each day. That’ll help.

Finally, I thought of Curly, and how he so did not want to die. Likely cursing out the Lord by now, saying, “What are you doing? I don’t wanna be here! I wanna be back down there! I’m suppose to meet Wally!”

But, what’s done is done. Death wins again. So be it.

Now, give ‘em hell up there, Curly, for all of us. Let him know we weren’t done with you yet.

Until the next round, godspeed old man.

Rob Azevedo can be reached at onemanmanch@gmail.com.




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