Hi Readers! I’m pleased to bring you another guest post from my Daddy-O, back by popular demand! Here he is, with more college revelry in store for you!
TKW, that saucy daughter of mine, has been giving her Dad a bit of a bad rap lately; it’s getting rather personal, don’t you think? She’s been bemoaning my handyman skills and inferring that any foul language that she uses is a result of hanging around dear old Dad growing up. This is just plain bullshit. Bullshit, I say!
Everybody knows that daughters should never be around their Dad when he is assembling a barbeque, doing home maintenance, watching sports on TV, discussing politics, or railing at the economy. Daughters should be outside playing with their little friends*, not pulling surveillance on Dad. And if you find any foul language in TKW Dad’s blog post, just remember who edits this thing before publication, and who publishes it. I plead innocence! Now, on to my next story.
THE OLD BUICK
Following up on the story of the Green Lantern and Chicago Style Hot Dogs, we return again to my college campus in the early ‘50’s. Back then, hardly any students at small liberal arts colleges had the wherewithal to have a car. At my school, in a small suburb, with a small downtown area, you got pretty tired of the same two beer joints every week. As lovely as The Green Lantern was, we yearned for more excitement—excitement far beyond walking distance.
Lady luck was on our side. My Freshman year, one of the dorm counselors mentioned that he had an old 1936 Buick in running condition that he would sell for $100. So four of us scraped together $25 each and purchased transportation that would reliably get us farther afield, to new and exciting places, to further our…education.
As happy as this circumstance was, however, there was a little problem. The old Buick’s starter was shot and did not function at all. This didn’t cause any trouble when all four of us were together; three guys pushed while one popped the clutch and the Buick was in business. But when one of us took the car on a date, we had to find a hill to park on, so we could get the car rolling on its own. If we couldn’t find a hill, we’d have to suffer the indignity of getting out to push while our date tried to pop the clutch. Not really the way to make a glowing impression with the ladies, you know?
But somehow, we made it work and in short order we found a roadhouse called Hall’s with great hamburgers, steak and libations. We found a place called Washington Gardens, with terrific pizza and a long bar with good—you guessed it–libations. But the most frequented place we found was called Gus’s Eat. It was just a hole-in-the-wall hamburger joint. We called it Greasy Gus’s, and I swear, the later the hour (and the more libations in our bellies), the more delicious those burgers tasted. In the early morning hours, grease puddled on the griddle and Gus’s apron would be covered in smears. We also suspected that Gus imbibed just a bit—as the night went on, the more he’d forget to clean the griddle. Fortified, he would flip those burgers to perfection while talking to himself and muttering nonsense. Colorful guy, Gus.
We took that rickety Buick all over, even into Chicago to see the Cubs play at Wrigley. The Old Hoss served us well. Finally a day came, late in the spring when some guys(author not present)were driving back to campus when the old Buick started sputtering, coughing, bucking and farting all over the place. When the ignition was turned off, that old Buick wouldn’t die–it just kept bucking and farting. So what did my creative partners do? They just pushed the old sonofabitch over the side of the road into a deeply wooded ravine and walked back to campus. Fortunately, it didn’t start a fire. Miraculously, we never heard from the police, or the administration and nothing appeared in the paper. Back then, nobody even knew of the word environmental hazard, or toxic. I suspect the Buick is still sitting down there, covered by underbrush and rusting away.
Today, I am told that Hall’s is a pizza parlor, Greasy Gus’s is a huge home supply outlet, and Washington Gardens is no more. I’m afraid that a great part of my early days have joined Scarlett O’Hara’s world and are…gone with the wind.
Thanks, Daddy, for sitting in for me today! You’re the best, brown eyes! *ps: I couldn’t go out and play with my friends while you were putting together that barbeque, Dad! I had no friends, remember? Plus, watching you was just too much fun! xoxo