A Father’s Day Story

buddyWhen my Dad got out of the service, we moved to small apartment on the Boulevard in New Haven, Connecticut.   As I recall, it was a refurbished Army barracks.  My mom told me that when the wind blew, you could feel it through the walls.  I am fortunate to have some pictures of our years there but my memories of the Boulevard are sparse and dimly lighted.   I do remember them as good times.   There were tons of kids to play with, my parents had lots of friends (many of whom they kept touch with through most of their lives) and there was lots of space to play baseball or tag on the apartment grounds, even if it was mostly dirt.   What more could a kid ask for?

Behind the apartments was a chain link fence separating us from a scenic field of used tires, piled as high as the eight foot fence.   One Saturday afternoon, while we were tiresplaying in the yard, I got in an argument with one of the other kids (I don’t remember who it was, so I’ll just grab a name from my Boulevard file and say Joey Finelli.  I’d say it was Louie Landino but he was bigger than I was and besides, he was my hero at the time).  I expressed my displeasure with Joey by throwing  his baseball glove over the fence into the tire field.   Joey, being smaller than I, went home crying and told his mother.  His mother called my mother and soon, my Dad appeared beside me at the fence, none too happy.   Joey and his mother showed up, too.  After a brief lecture to me about other peoples things, Dad nimbly scaled the fence and jumped into the tall grass below.  As he landed, he shouted in pain, something between Dammit and Jesus H Christ, the two extremes of language he could use in front of me without incurring the wrath of Mom.  He’d landed on a tire hidden in the grass.  He gingerly climbed back over the fence and drove us all the the ER, where they put a cast on the broken leg.   I think the fuss over his injury saved me from a well-deserved spanking.

So, on this Father’s Day, here’s to the millions of times our Dad’s rescued us from our mistakes, big and small.   And to being a Dad, so that we can recognize that when Dad comes to the rescue, it isn’t easy.   There may not be a broken leg but it probably hurt Dad somewhere, if only in his heart.   Here’s to all the times he didn’t give us the spanking (or time out for you younger Dads) that we deserved and to the times we got what we deserved.   Here’s to everything Dad taught us, the hard way and the easy way, by example, through words and through action.  Here’s to Dads.  Especially mine.

bud and dad

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