Big Russ signed on with the Sanitation Department of the City of Buffalo, New York.
By this time, we had been reduced to two 50-something adult men sobbing with each other on a telephone call.
It wasn't because we were depressed about how hard our ascents from blue collar backgrounds had been.
We were sobbing - this Jewish son of an upholsterer and the Irish son of a sanitation worker - because in America it just doesn't matter from whence you came. It only matters how hard you have worked to get where you are.
On Saturday night, as I was watching the 2009 edition of "A Capitol Fourth" on my HD television, I waited for the boom lights; thought about that conversation with Tim; then raised a glass to his memory and to honor our country.
Thank you, America.