Years ago I met a guy named Ernie Dankovitz. He in turn introduced me to Bob Hunlock, Richard McKanka, and together we formed our first garage band playing everything that was popular in 1969. We also formed a comedy group and although there were no venues to showcase out funny at the time like today, we did do parties and even a live show in front of three hundred. I did a parody on Groucho’s “You Bet Your Life quiz show” and Ernie played the sidekick. Even though we formed all of these things the greatest formation that came out of this meeting was indeed our friendship. This was a bonding of four souls that could not be broken.
Ernie was a quick wit. If one of us was stuck for a line, he would ad lib and save the day. He was also the true king of song parody. He was best at taking two songs that sounded the same and turning them into one, like, “Don’t Pass me By” by the Beatles, and “Brand New Key” by Melanie. When we played in front of people as a band, people would actually think he was Alvin Lee of Ten Years After because he looked just like him. I would put on a Led Zeppelin record and he would say, it was Janus Joplin on fast speed.
Ernie was a funny man and a very good friend. He taught me how to drive, how to live life, and how to welcome friendship into my heart.
As time grew the four of us apart, we knew, like long time relatives, that although we married and moved away, the bond is still there and always will be. Bob married and moved to Georgia, Richard died years before his time and Ernie passed yesterday. Yes, years ago I met a guy named Ernie, he was a best friend, and as my tears fall, I know in my heart, he is in much better place now. Ernie Dankovits, as I raise my glass I look up, all I can say is here to you bud, it was one hell of a ride.