Today would have been my father’s 88th birthday…

Posted: October 31, 2009 by datechguy in personal
Tags: ,

…if he hadn’t died in 1987.

Right now I’ve been going through a hard time and I wish he was around for advice. He never got past the 6th grade but was the wisest man I knew. He was gregarious, impulsive, generous to a fault, had an incredible capacity to drink, and liked and trusted people much too much for his own good. He could fix anything, build anything, cook anything, was physically powerful and had the love of life, God and country, his fellow man and Family inside of him.

There are too many stories about him to tell them all here, from the Ambush in the parking lot, his refusal to pay and the violence he suffered for it, his refusal to accept help from his “Fellow Sicilians” when he needed it, his quest to join the Navy, his convoluted first meeting with my mother, their odd wedding day and first day bringing her home, the fights and drinking contests at the bar, the first Capone story, The great Smoking war, the rocks and the photos, the TV up the stairs, intensive care and unending talk, the pink shirt and the Green Beret, the missing 3 million dollar ticket, The Heart Attack in the woods, The burn cream, His mother-in-law stories, and the greatest story of all his cooking of his own funeral dinner.

But as this is the anniversary of his birth rather than his death I choose the 2nd Capone story which goes like this…

Mike Capone was the cousin of Al Capone and was a soldier stationed at Ft. Devens in the 50’s. He had met my parents in a previous visit to their Bar/Resturant The Mohawk Club in Shirley mass (they sold it in 1964 and it became a dive rather quickly) and would come with a group of soldiers on a regular basis for the incredible Italian food.

One day there was a group of young local kids who came in, old enough to drive not old enough to drink, they were allowed to come into the restaurant but not the bar. The six of them started trouble and my father kicked them out. About 45 minutes later one of them showed up at the back door asking to talk to the owner. As the relationship between the club and the local police was not good (another story) my father went out to handle it. He was struck from behind (the light was out) and found himself fighting six to one. He held his own for a while but numbers started to tell and once they had him down the outcome was not in doubt.

My mother heard the racket and looked outside and saw what has happening, declining to shoot them as they were unarmed (ah a gentler time was the 50’s) she ran to the bar where Mike Capone was sitting with 5 other guys pulled on his arm saying “Mike they’re going to kill him”. When he got the story he got up from his table, when the other soldiers asked he he needed a hand his answer was: “Nah Dominic & I can handle it.”

When he got outside my father was down and the six where on him. Capone caught them by surprise. With Capone there and my father again on his feet once more the outcome was not in doubt. The six of them were sprawled all over the ground and my father and Capone left them there Mike to return to his table and my Father to clean up.

He was punctilious about being clean always wearing identical white shirts and black ties, he washed his face and changed into clean clothes (my family has a house on the premises.) and within 15 minutes was back at the bar serving customers.

These fellows were connected with the local police, and as soon as they recovered sufficiently to leave they headed straight to the police station. Within the hour a police car arrived and local police were in the place escorting the six bruised and beaten teens who pointed out their tormentor at the bar.

My father came out behind the bar with a look of incredibility on his face explaining that he indeed kicked them out of the place but that he’d been working. When the teens INSISTED that he beat them up, he turned to the officer in his clean white shirt, tie and perfectly clean groomed face and asked:

“Officer does it really look like i’ve been in a fight with six guys in the last hour?”

The officer looked at the teens and left without another word taking the teens with them.

The light that was broken in the back paid off when jumping my dad but hurt them here since they didn’t get a good look at the other guy who after they left came out of the kitchen.

So ended another evening at the place and once again the quest to drive those dirty Italians out of town and business had failed.

Compared to what he dealt with my life has been a lark and I feel guilty even complaining about it.

So happy birthday dad. I miss you a lot.

  1. Adrienne says:

    Prayers for your father…

  2. Peg says:

    datechguy – my dad happens to be 88. He’s still around and in pretty good shape. Memory not what it used to be – but – hey; mine isn’t either.

    I realize JUST how fortunate I am to still have my dad.

    Sorry that you only have the memories – but – they sure sound like wonderful ones. Cherish them.