Tag Archives: Dad

A Tale of My Father: Macy’s Santa

3 Dec

December 3, 2013

A love of tradition and a lot of time on your hands can be a bad thing. Case in point: my father.

In his later years, Dad wasn’t working and spent a lot time at home. It could get very boring but he managed to find ways to pass the time. Oh, I don’t mean fixing things around the house, or hobbies (although he had a killer model train layout), or even anything productive, I mean things like scamming Nigerian scammers.

Yes, I typed that correctly. He get an email from a “Nigerian Prince” promising him untold wealth if only he’d give him his social security number, bank account number, blood type, etc, and instead of doing what you and I would do (i.e.: delete it) he’d write back, or better, he’d call them. He’d call the number in the email and claim to be interested but he had a few questions. He’d ask them if he needed a checking or a savings account, he’d ask them about the political situation in Nigeria, he’d ask them about his tax implications of accepting the fortune, he’d ask them the best time to call back with more questions, etc. You’d be surprised how long a Nigerian Prince will stay on the line. One email could keep Dad entertained with the back and forth for weeks.

He didn’t always get satisfaction (nor did he get the Nigerian fortune.) For example, one year he was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV and stayed with it all the way through to the end, not an easy thing to do, depending on how you feel about 3 hours of Al Roker. Anyway, Dad watched it to the end and got very upset because it ended with Santa pulling up in front of Macy’s and waving. Roll credits, fade to black, go to commercials, cue football.

This was not good.

Because when Dad was a kid, the parade ended with Santa getting off his sled and walking into Macy’s (where he and the elves presumably did all their shopping). After some more waving, he’d sit in his chair in Santa’s cardboard workshop and await all the little kiddies on his lap. (Good thing he’s Santa. Guys end up on the sex offender list for a lot less.)

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So this particular year, Santa did not get off his sled and walk into Macy’s. He just sat there and waved and the show ended. That was not right. Something had to be done. And Dad was the one to do it.

He called Macy’s and complained.

God love my father, and God knows I loved him, even I had to pause at that. Wouldn’t the TV network be the one to call? I’m sure Santa went into Macy’s (though how would I know? It wasn’t shown on TV and I wasn’t there) but the network cut away before he got off the sled. Anyway, Dad called Macy’s where he registered his complaint. Who did the operator direct him to? Who did he speak to? I have no clue. I am sure that Dad let loose his anger on whoever was the first to pick up, and I feel sorry for the low-level Macy’s operator who had to take that call.

Dad never forgot the insult. He wasn’t one to take a slight like that laying down. He had a grudge against both Macy’s and the parade for a long time.

The parade has never been the same.

A Tale of My Father: Storm on the Sea

4 Jul

July 4, 2013

Saying that my father knew people is a gross understatement. A candidate for local office may shake the hands of hundreds of people, and still may not equal the number of people my father knew- and knew by name.

For example, Dad would take two or three trips to Las Vegas, along with my grandmother, every year. Along with the normal luggage you’d expect- clothes, for example- he would take a couple of dozen bagels, a gallon of pickles, and other assorted New York foods. Why? Because he knew one of the chefs in a big Vegas hotel and they could not get that type of food out West. (Some people smuggle drugs in their suitcases, Dad packed kosher half-sours.

This particular Tale of My Father is not his finest moment but it is a good story.

fishing-sailboat

Dad loved to go fishing, and he especially loved to go fishing from boats. Fishing off a dock is not nearly as much fun, take it from me, and the type of people you meet fishing off the seawall in Brooklyn? The less said the better. But Dad knew someone who owned a boat and invited him and some others to go fishing. This was a sailboat and you needed to know what you were doing if you wanted to be on one. It takes a certain amount of effort to crew a sailboat. For example, you have to know what lines to pull to make the sail swing around, and you have to be very, very aware when the sail swings around because the beam it is attached to is a- very, very heavy, and b- more or less at the level of your head. So imagine a heavy piece of canvas attached to a log flying around the deck and you have a clue as to why you had to know what the sail was doing at any minute.

So on this occasion Dad and his friends were somewhere on the water fishing and the fishing was great. You should have been there. (There are two fundamental rules for every story about fishing. One is the fishing was always better some time in the past, before you showed up to fish- usually “yesterday.” And two, invariably, when asked how the fishing is, someone will tell you “you should have been here yesterday.”) The weather was nice, the fishing good, the soda and beer plentiful, and the water calm.

And then suddenly a storm came out of nowhere and drenched them all.

minnow-dont-panicThe sea became rough, the boat was tossed, almost but not quite Gilligan’s Island style, and the fishermen soaked. Dad, of course, was ready and had his rain suit with him. In the pouring rain, on the storm-tossed water, he grabbed his wet-weather gear and started to pull it on. If you’ve seen the deck of a sailboat you know there is not much to keep you from being tossed off the boat, just a small rail. So here is Dad, deck pitching, getting soaked by the rain, trying to pull on his rain gear, but above all, watching out for the sail, which in this condition was flying around the boat like the aforementioned flying log.

So it is understandable that he put on the first thing he grabbed, which were his rain pants. Rain pants are not like normal pants in that they have no belt and are not a snug fit. They are loose and held up by suspenders. And as Dad found out, in a heavy downpour, they act as a rubber funnel and all the rain collects inside and soaks your legs. So poor Dad was frantically searching for his rain coat, dodging the sail, and trying to keep from being pitched overboard, all while getting soaked to the bone in his legs. Ideally, you would already be wearing the rain gear when the rain starts or have a dry shelter in which to put them on since the pants have to go one first. In less than ideal weather, you would put on the pants and very quickly put the coat on atop them. These were not less than ideal conditions.

By the time Dad got the rain coat on it was almost pointless. He was soaked, drenched, waterlogged- you can name your favorite description- and the water was now just sitting on him and steaming under the heavy layer of rubber. It is amazing that he didn’t catch the cold or a flu from that, and just as amazing that no one else got conked on the head by the flying sail, but the fishing was great.

You should have been there.

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