Monday, August 07, 2006
Sunday with Mama: Picking up the Tab
Ok, fine. Some nice things DID happen yesterday, I can't deny it. I'll stop pouting and share them. Thanks for cheering me up, youse guys.
As every Sunday, I took Mom to the her favorite Mexican restaurant. I've taken to teasing her by telling people that we go there because she loves the Tequila. They always know better and chide me for saying it. Still, it's funny every time.
While we were gobbling down chips and salsa, I noticed that one of my father's best friends, Charlie, and his wife, Marcia had just been seated. We ran over and gave them big hugs, and caught up for about 10 minutes. During the catching up, Charlie regaled us with a story about my Dad, that had us laughing our heads off.
My father was a mechanic, keeping a fleet of UPS trucks in order for 26 years. Charlie was also a mechanic, working for others, and then later, for himself in his own shop. Our story takes place in 1971.
Charlie was driving a tow truck for a place called Twin City Radiator. It was sort of a city garage + Ambulance dispatch. There had been an accident at University and Wright (for you townies) and Charlie drove the one block down the street to clean up the wreckage. One of his coworkers, Steve, NOT on duty, and apparently drunk as a skunk, sidled up and, generally, got in everyone's way. Charlie finally growled at him to go on down to the station and sober up before he got himself arrested.
Steve, unhappy to be talked to in such a manner, skulked off, and down to Twin City Radiator, where my Father happened to be waiting for a part. Steve marched in, still belligerent and yelled at my dad: "When Charlie gets down here, I'm going to kick his ass! And you'd better stay out of it, Fat Ass!"
A few minute later Charlie walked in, and Steve, true to his promise, went to kick Charlie's ass. He swung and missed, and it took a sober Charlie just a few seconds to put him down on the floor. As Charlie tells it, he was sitting on top of a face-down Steve, who had by then covered his head with his arms, and was screaming to my dad, "Lee! Lee, help me!! Lee!" My father walked over, got down on the floor, looked between Steve's arms into his eyes, and said:
"Hi. My name is Fat Ass, and I'm supposed to stay out of this."
Well, we howled over Charlie's story, then went back to our table for lunch.
My mother misses them. She misses my father. She loved hearing warm stories and laughing at her husband, again. While we were eating, she told me, "I want to buy their dinner."
Who am I to deny my Mother this fun? We called Ruben-the-waiter over, nabbed Charlie and Marcia's tab from him, and hurriedly packed up our leftovers. We told them we loved them on the way out, giggling and feeling like sneaky little thieves, trying to leave before they should ask for their check, please.
Once freed we ran to our car, giddy and laughing, and wishing we could at least see their faces when they found out they got free lunch.
Being in cahoots with my Mother.