Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q is for Quotes To Live By #atozchallenge

Anthony, mid 70s Tom Jones look. 
As you may know, my old man was quite a figure in my life.  One half hero, one half villain, six halves incongruous lunatic.  He had all these off the wall crazy codes and quotes he lived by.  Some intentional and some made up on the spot.   He was an intimidating guy and when he wanted to make a point, he'd stand nose to nose with you and say, "Now, we're not gonna hurt each other, are we?"   The look on his face and the calm in his voice was enough to make anyone rethink their bravado.  And it was always funny.

My favorite Anthony quote is one he used often and had so much meaning under the surface.  Whenever he went somewhere and wanted company he'd grab his keys and in passing you he'd say, "Take a ride".  It wasn't a request and you never said no.  Or maybe he'd call you and show up outside your house.  Or he'd grab you off the street on your way to work (which became a sudden sick day).

Sometimes it would be for ice cream at ten PM.  Maybe he just wanted a slice.  Other times it was to help him deliver a summons.  While on his deliveries we passed the USS Intrepid museum on NYC's west side.  He took one look and then we were all on the deck posing with airplanes while a pile of urgent summonses grew mold in the car.   Once it was because he saw an abandoned car and needed a part. Under cover of darkness we went on one of his missions to um, acquire said part. 
Over the years Take A Ride took on new meaning.  It meant, Drop what you're doing and come with me, we're going on an adventure" because nothing he did was what it seemed.  It became a way of letting someone know you were close to them and you wanted to share whatever was coming.  It was considered extraordinarily poor form if you refused.  He pulled me out of class when I was in college;  

"Take a ride".  

"Where are we going?"

"Nathan's, I want a hot dog."  Which would change from a quest to Coney Island's famous landmark to a trek into the city to the also famous Gray's Papaya where we'd park in a hydrant and eat as many as we could stuff and waste the day.  

The best adventures with him were the ones that were never supposed to be.  This coming May 8th, he will be gone some twelve years.  In my head I can hear his voice making that simple demand which in his way was akin to saying I love you.  I have that expression hardwired into my lexicon.  I use it the way he used it, to let you know I have an errand and I want you there.  We won't end up where we're supposed to.  I don't know where we'll be but I can assure you it will be something we will laugh about for years to come.  

Who knows, maybe your phone will ring one night at 2am and through your sleepy haze you'll hear me tell you, "Take a ride".  I'll be waiting.  Let's go.

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  1. I love the way you talk about your dad. I can feel the love and respect you had for him.

  2. He was something not to be believed. A friend described him as, "this larger than life character who entered a room either screaming at someone or laugh with them". I try to paint both sides of that with a humorous bent.