My father’s birthday was on December 10th, which would have made him 101 years old. He made it to 89, a ripe old age for our family, which gives me hope for longevity and perhaps another couple of decades on this glorious planet.
With the holiday season in full gear, thoughts of my dear, old dad have been flourishing, especially those from when I was growing up. Poor Pop, we certainly gave him a rough time, my brother and I.
We were living Dumont, N.J. One night in the dead of winter, a loud shattering of glass woke up the family. Upon investigating, my father found my brother, hanging out his bedroom’s second-story window—which was alongside of the bed—suspended upside down with a large glass shard from the broken pane, dug deeply into the calf of his leg.
Below outside lay a pile of cinder blocks which would have certainly done him in had he fallen. Pop pulled his 14-year-old son back into the room, bandaged his leg and took my disheveled sibling to the emergency room for a boatload of stitches to the laceration.
A dream caused all the commotion, according to Ray, my brother. He dreamt about being in our basement that was on fire, and busting through the ground-level window to get out; hence, the fiasco with his narrowly escaping death.
Dad repaired the pane later that morning, installing bars on the outside of the sash to prevent any future incidents. It’s amazing how dreams can motivate such physical reactions.
After we moved to Oradell, N.J., when Ray was 16, he and his friends stole my father’s car while Pop was asleep for the night. My brother had absconded the spare keys. The boys went joyriding around town. After a stop at the local pizzeria and while the car was backing up, for whatever reason, Boris, the kid who lived in an apartment upstairs, opened the passenger door. A telephone pole caught and ripped it off its hinges.
Unbeknownst to my father, he found out quickly upon opening the effected door, when it fell abruptly to the ground. Ray knew about my dad’s enlightenment. My mother warned him after she watched the whole scenario from the kitchen window. She thought it was hilarious.
Bro stayed with some friends until my father cooled down, coming back home after a few days. Pop made him pay for the damages. Ray worked at a gas station, pumping petrol. Took him about a month to settle his debt.
I was no angel either, playing practical jokes on my dad whenever I could. My best one was placing the slats that supported his old-fashioned bed’s mattress and springs, angling the 1″x 4″ furring strips diagonally in such a fashion for permitting just a small portion of one corner from each end to rest in the bed-frame on either side. A decent jarring would cause the whole shebang to collapse.
After his coming home from a night out on the town, he landed on the bed with fading sounds of “Ahhhhh…, ” follow by crash, boom, bang, as the spring’s metal frame and mattress landed on the floor with him in it.
Don’t think Pop ever figured out I had done it. My head was buried in the pillow to keep him from hearing my hysterics during the event. He looked at me funny in the morning as I passed his room to see him fixing the mess. Wonder if he knew it was me.
God bless my dad, wherever he may be in the netherworld! I sure do miss him!
Incidentally, I’ve picked up my guitar again and started making a new cover tune, which I’ll feature here when it becomes available. In the meantime, allow me to share this classic:
Thanks for your continued support.