Jack McCray was just such a friend and customer, and his recent passing left a definite hole in the Charleston community and in our little community at the Glass Onion. Honestly, it is difficult for me to remember not knowing Jack. I believe it was shortly after we opened the Glass Onion in the spring of 2008 that he came in to eat for the first time, and someone pointed him out with some loose description like “that jazz guy.” At that point in GO history, I spent nearly every minute on the floor talking with customers — wanting to know them. I must have struck up an easy conversation with Jack as I am completely enamored with the art of jazz music, and here I found a true jazz guru.
Seems like by his next visit, that I regarded Jack as a dear friend, sought his advice on jazz books, excitedly heard his then fledgling plans for the Charleston Jazz Orchestra (CJO), and of course made sure he enjoyed his fried catfish!
As anyone who has lost someone can attest, it is the little things that you end up missing the most. With Jack, I miss his infectious smile and constant enthusiasm but also his one quirk with the Glass Onion. He hated our pens at the register!
From day one, I attached fake flowers to our pens so that they would be less likely to walk out the door, and I have to admit that some men balk at using them. Well, Jack went beyond balking, he voiced his dislike of the flower pens loudly (but with a smile, of course.) This became such a running joke that one server brought in a giant foot long pen that we labeled “Jack” to clarify this would be Jack’s pen. Other customers misunderstood and thought it so funny that we would name a pen; they never considered that we would have a customer so special that he might have his own pen!
But Jack was this special. He was the kind of guy you wanted to denote a pen in his honor. He was the kind of guy who lit up entire restaurants, bars and concerts. He was the kind of guy you wanted to truly know.
It was an honor knowing Jack McCray, seeing him out in the dining room, slipping him a piece a pound cake. Folks like him make my job a pleasure.
Over the past few years I have had the joy of supporting the CJO and watching it grow just as the Glass Onion has also grown. In honor of Jack McCray, I encourage you to give the gift of jazz this holiday season by purchasing tickets to all or one of their shows. This helps build the sense of community that Jack envisioned, and that we at the Glass Onion also envision.
Visit www.jazzartistsofcharleston.org for more information.
POWER MOVE = local food + local music