Jay Bonfatti's friends never had the chance to say farewell to him, and most couldn't make the trip to Massachusetts for the funeral. So they held something of a party/tribute/Irish wake/New Orleans wake for him at the Lafayette Tap Room in Buffalo Saturday afternoon.
I think it's fair to say Jay would have loved it.
There was plenty of food and drink, plenty of music and plenty of friends. That's the formula to make everyone feel a little bit better in a difficult time.
It was impressive to see the wide cast of characters at the gathering. Some were from the various departments of The Buffalo News; it was nice because many people don't usually each other because of different time shifts or job responsibilities. Some were former employees or acquaintances of Jay's through the business of journalism, a few of whom came in from out of town. And others were friends who knew Jay through a variety of other ways, reflecting Jay's diverse interests. I found myself saying a lot, "Let's talk again soon under happier circumstances."
Jay's family came in for the occasion, and if they didn't realize how beloved this memorable character in these people's lives was, they should know it now.
The gathering isn't the last time we'll be talking about Jay, but maybe it helped us gain a little closure about the sad turn of events. So to the organizers I'll say, "Thanks, I needed that."