Kind of fun to be able to wish my son a Happy Father's Day this year. And good wishes to all you dads out there as well :-)
As I mentioned in my Father's Day post a couple of years ago, my dad was pretty much everything to me. And one of the coolest things was that he was my best friend. So in honor of that, I've decided to share one of my favorite stories of him --
In the 70s, one of the local tv stations used to run something called Shock Theater on Friday nights. Remember, this was before cable television, so you had three vhf channels and one uhf channel that you got on your outside antenna. Television went off the air in the wee hours and came back on in the early morning.
Shock Theater ran old horror movies from the fourties, fifties and sixties. And lots of those lurid, color-rich Hammer Studios films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and the like. Fabulous stuff. Dad and I would stay up late every Friday with the house to ourselves watching horrible old movies. And in the middle of the movie, the local sports guy Andy Hardy would come on with the owner of the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Manuel Biero (I think) and they would have a table full of food and Biero would go over the weekend's specials at the restaurant. Then Biero would raise his glass and proclaim for the camera "Salut and Happy Days, 1362 times!" or some such number as they kept track of how many times they had done the promo. Small market kitchy goodness you'll never see the like of again. How I miss it!
Anywho, it's the middle of summer, we don't have air conditioning so the house is like an oven. All the windows are open with only gauzy curtains to block someone from seeing in. Dad and I are in the family room at the back of the house watching some gloriously horrible old flick when I notice the living room is pulsing red and blue.
After my initial shock, I point this out to my Dad and we creep into the living room to see what the eff is going on. Peeking through the curtains, we see a police car across the street. He's got some dude pulled over and has his trunk open and is giving it a pretty thorough search. We can't see well because we have an ear tree in the front yard blocking our view. I suggest we go to the other end of the house, to my mom's office (my old bedroom) and peek out there.
So we sneak quietly back there, but the room's very small and only one of use can lean over mom's desk to see out the window. I look first and after a minute, Dad wants to see what's up. We switch places and I back away to give him some room. The room has original terrazzo floors with no carpets or mats down. And mom has some crappy torchiere lamp standing by her desk. So naturally I bump into it and knock it over. I catch the lamp pole, but not before knocking the metallic shade off the lamp.
The truncated conical shade hits the floor and makes the loudest clang you've ever heard. Plus it keeps rattling around while I try to grab it. Remember, it's like 2:00 in the morning, deathly quiet in the neighborhood. My dad whips around and yells "You horse's ass!" and I bust out laughing. The cops have turned their lights on our house now, and we are laughing our asses off as we scramble to get back to the back of the house.
We must have laughed about that for another half an hour that night/morning. But even better was when we told mom about it the next morning. She's looking at the two of us like we should both be locked away somewhere and we're laughing so hard tears are rolling down our faces.
God, how I miss him! Love ya Dad!
And it's not a Father's Day tribute, but I loved this from what has become one of my favorite all time comic strips: