Poundsign GreatCouple

I am going to break my traditional blog posts today. I have to be honest, I have written and re-written this blog at least a dozen times and played it out in my head many times since last Saturday. If you are wondering, I purposely did not tag this post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts today for a reason. This post isn’t about me or our adventures up here and I would rather not have any comments on my Social Media accounts. I know for a fact that the two people that I am going talk about would both smack me in the head and tell me “Knock it off Jackass, we are just two normal people.” But they weren’t, they were something special.

I first met Summer Sieben some 20 years ago when I was managing bars for River City Management. She was little shit. Granted she was in college, waiting tables at the Tap House and making more money than God but she was a tough cookie. She had a following of regulars and she loved the previous manager who was ceremoniously un-assed and I was the guy from Beale Street who replaced him. In other words, she hated me. We had our moments over that year. It was one night when we were dreadfully slow she told me; “I respect you Robo, you got thrown into a shitty situation but you won us over.” It was then that I became a fan of Sunmer. I moved on and it was about 4 years ago that we reconnected via Facebook. I recall the first message she sent me after I accepted her request and it went something like this; “Hey Robo, looks like you are doing well and loving life. I am married to my best friend and living in Houston, TX. His name is Jim and I am crazy in love with him. We will be in town at Thanksgiving and would love to see you and Shobo.” 

I met Jimmy aka “Paco” one afternoon at Alex’s Tavern the Friday of Thanksgiving. He was a man of few words but I knew I loved him. Summer had made some comment about something silly and Paco, under his breath, zings her. I look at him and start smiling and nodding my head because he hit the nail on the head. Jimmy looks at me and says “Robo, I hear that you were one of her bosses back when she was in her ‘formative’ years. I applaud you because you must have the patience of Job, or did you just ignore her like I did when she would need cheese with her whine?” Like I said, Paco was a special man but his love for Summer was very evident and they both loved having a good time together.

When I announced that we were moving to New York I got a message from Paco that simply said “Congrats, I know that you and Shobo will do fine up there. Please do me a favor…teach those Yankee bastards how to properly pronounce Houston Texas!” He and Summer both would read this worthless dibble of a blog and were quick to bust my balls when I would talk about vacations or post pictures. You see Jimmy and Summer were also big into vacations and weekends away. They would go to tropical locations with friends, they would go to great locations and events for work and there was never a picture without a smile on either of their faces. They lived life to the fullest and after seeing a bunch of pictures being posted this week many of their friends also saw them love life. 

Last Friday Summer posted a picture of herself standing in front of a private plane rocking her LV bag, floppy hat (Summer had the Irish skin that needed SPF 1000) and the caption read “So this is happening!” My friends Summer and Jim Austin died last Friday in a plane crash in West Houston Texas. There was other couple who were also with them and they too perished in the crash. Earlier in the same week during the 4th of July holiday I was texting Summer about when the 4 of us would get together. She was telling me that they had a busy fall but we should plan a trip to someplace warm and tropical in the early spring. My comment to her was “Only if Paco brings those America’s Cup shorts I saw earlier on FB.” Poof! Now they are gone.

I have had a hard time wrapping my head around this horrific event. Why? How could you? It isn’t fair, they both are supposed to do much more with their lives! I have played these questions over and over in my head and still can’t make heads nor tails of it. I am not much of a prayer person, I think that if I did ever get on the line with the man upstairs he may freak out and hang up on me.  My only hope is that my friends when they left this world it was quickly and without pain and suffering. I already know in my mind that they were holding hands telling each other that they loved each other. I knew that the moment I first met them as husband and wife.

IMG_1681Paco at the airport returning back to H-Town. You can see it in his face. ‘Damnit Summer don’t you dare post this picture to Facebook!” She did anyway.

IMG_1680I bet she is happy that the last picture posted of her was a good one and not one of her feeding cows or something like that. LV Bag – Check, Floppy Hat – Check, Gold watch and Big Sunglasses – Check. Rocking the little Black dress and the cans are on point – Check

IMG_1678Summer and Jim came into town for her birthday, we had lunch at the Rendezvous and spent the afternoon laughing over beers and ribs.

So there it is folks. Again, I would appreciate no comments because this isn’t about me but about a great couple. For those that had the pleasure of knowing Jim & Summer I have seen some great tributes about their lives, they will be forever missed. If you never got a chance to meet them I can tell you that you missed a great couple. Apart they were fun people, but together they were a great couple who could move mountains and leave you wanting more. To close this out I quote the late Summer Seiben Austin who would say after the bar or food tab was paid; “And now we dance!”

Cool runnings my friends, I will see you one of these days on the other side.  




  1. Ok – I know you said no comments but I think I have waited the appropriate time to say this – you don’t know me but my husband and I met you once at the Memphis Farmers Market – we are part time Memphisns and are friends with Paul Ryburn – ok so I didn’t say we are smart. However, he got me hooked on your blog … And yes, I actually fell for the fact that the Mrs. got a job with uber in NYC (I’m half Polish – not my fault) – you and your better half are one of those amazing couples (at least from what I read) – I think my husband Dennis and I are too. So share the love of your #greatcouple and keep writing! Btw – ditch the sear sucker suit … just sayin’


  2. Sorry to ignore your request for “no comment” but I only leant the news of this tragedy last night and have been up all night trying desperately to digest the reality of what I’d just learnt in the most brutal of ways – the internet, wishing it was all just a bad, bad dream.

    Long story short, I last spoke with Summer 2 weeks before her passing to re-schedule a lunch date. We would both be out of town for a few weeks and agreed to catch-up early August to celebrate her birthday and generally catch-up. I have been desperately trying to locate Summer ever since and finally took to social media last night only to realize my worst nightmare. I knew something was wrong when I had no response to my many message and birthday card and as the weeks moved on the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach just got worse. It’s times like this that I wish I used facebook more actively.

    I moved to the USA (Houston TX) 2 years ago much to Summer’s delight and my husband and I shared many fun dinners with Summer and Jim, but did not necessarily move in the same circle of local friends and therefore no means by which to receive this horrendous news. I first met Summer through business some 7 years ago and became a mentor to her which later blossomed into a friendship. Your description of this wonderful couple was perfect, a true snapshot of who they were – a wonderful couple, very much in love, living life to the fullest. a life that was cut short far to soon and in the most unexpected way.

    The only consolation I can take from this terrible tragedy is that they went together and I pray quickly only have time to say “I love you” one last time.

    Robbo, thanks for sharing this heartfelt tribute, it helped me as I now months later need to take the first steps in my grieving process many months after the event having not had the opportunity to pay my respects and mourn there passing.

    We are all better for having had Summer and Jim in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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