Monday, April 25, 2011

What Happened to the Streetlight

My Dad used to tell this story.  I don't know how true it is, but it doesn't really sound like Dad.

The story is that Dad and Mom were swimming in the back yard and Dad wanted to skinny dip, but Mom was too bashful with the street light bright over head.  With the light on, everyone on the highway (the Kennedy Expressway) could see them.

Dad went to the deck, took his service revolver and shot the streetlight.  By the time he had put the pistol back and turned back to Mom, she had run back into the house.

That light was out for what I remember to be several years in my dim, early youth.  I vaguely remember that after I heard that story I told people that I had always wondered why that light never worked.

True or not, it's a good story.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Papa in the Airlock

Not Papa in the airlock, but darn cute none the less.  Papa and Teeny
I hurt my back the other day and I'm suffering through it.  It's just a muscle pain, nothing to do with my spine, but it reminds me of a story about Dad when he was a cop.

Somehow Dad had gotten into one of those apartment building airlocks with a bad guy.  You know the places, where there is one outside door and another door a few feet away.  The outside-outside door doesn't get locked, but the inside-outside door is the one that has to be buzzed open from someone in an apartment.

I guess this bad guy was REALLY big and bad.  Dad figured he had to hit him fast and hard.  His only chance to get him was to hit first as hard as he possibly could.  So he did.  Dad hit him and he backed up against the door.

He growled and lunged forward, bent over like he was going to tackle Dad so Dad hit him in the side of the face.

He shook it off, raised his hands with a growl and charged.  He was still bent over so Dad hit him again, as hard as he possibly could.

He shook it off with another growl, raised his hands and went after Dad again, still bent over.  Amazed that he hadn't knocked the guy out, and afraid that if he let him stand up straight he would pound Dad into a pulp; Dad hit him again as hard as he could.

Finally the guy managed to talk.  Dad found out that they bad guy had been shot previously and the bullet had lodged near his spine.  When Dad backed him against the door he had pressed his back against the door knob and the bullet had been pushed so that it was pinching his spine.  He couldn't straighten up or raise his hands above his chest because of it.

All those times he shook off the hit was a growl, what he was trying to say was, "Please stop, I give up," and raise his hands in surrender.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Papa and the Train

This morning I was stopped by a train and it got me to thinking about Dad's train story. I got about half of it typed out on my phone before the train went by, but my phone played dumb and lost it, so now I'm walking home from one of the girls' friend's houses and I'm going to try again.

When Dad was about 12 some of his friends like to hop the freight train, hobo-style, and ride it to Gateway theater. The theater was at Jefferson Park, off Milwaukee Avenue, about two miles away from the house on Kostner.

The boys goaded Dad until he came with them one day. They jumped in an open box car, but by the time it got up to the theater it was going about 60mph. It wasn't a local like they were used to, but an express going to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The train didn't slow down the whole time and by the time the boys could jump off they were out of the state and good and scared. Dad was the only one brave enough to call his parents. In about an hour and a half they were picked up by his dad.

They all piled in the car and one by one my Papa dropped the boys off. He didn' say a word to my Dad the whole way. The fear built up in Dad until he could barely stand the wait for his punishment which was sure to come.

Finally they pulled up in front of the house and my grandfather said, "That was a damn stupid thing to do."

So fear was his punishment, and he got home safe and sound. I too have just gotten home so here ends the story.