We had no flags, no insignia and no commander. We did have a uniform of sorts — old, loud and faded Hawaiian shirts. The shirts did not match. No need.

The brigade’s roster comprised just three old guys, fortunately not as loud or faded as our shirts. Definitely older. Maneuvers consisted of lunch at various restaurants all over Chicago and suburbs. Sometimes they were crowded, sometimes only the brigade was present.

There was neither pattern nor schedule. We mustered whenever the spirit moved us.

Always there was a good time.

Now one of us is gone. Longtime Oak Park resident, Larry P., passed away Oct. 15 and with him the brigade.

Perhaps he was the commander. He shall be missed.

Long live the Hawaiian Shirt Brigade. 

Jim Chmura

Oak Park

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