"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: dad

Forgotten Bookmark

I e-mailed with a friend yesterday about James Agee so I went to my bookshelf this morning and picked out an old paperback copy of Letters of James Agee to Father Flye. The pages are yellow and brittle–I think I got it in high school–and I haven’t looked at it in a long time. I read through the book on my subway ride to work. After about twenty minutes I noticed something lodged in between the pages–a personalized bookmark that my father had made for me when I was a little kid. It features a drawing by my uncle Fred.

Dad had stickers with his name that he put in all of his books and he was proud to make stickers for my brother, sister, and me. I remember having a stack of them, held together with a rubber band, like they were baseball cards. I loved peeling off the back and sticking them on things, not just books, and I quickly depleted my stock.

I have no idea how one of them–an original, with the backing still attached–found its way into the Agee book, but it was like finding a tiny, intimate treasure.

New York Minute

It’s hard to figure that it’s almost been five years since my Dad passed away. I got to thinking about him on the subway this morning when a man came on the train with a bible in his left hand and started talking about Jesus. The man through the packed car slowly and was ignored by the passengers. I smiled as I remembered something Dad once said to a subway preacher. Dad looked up from his book when the preacher got close, looked up at him and in a loud, clear voice said, “Sir, your arrogance is breathtaking.”

Ah, the old man was a good one.

Taster’s Cherce

Okay, so this one’s from Katz’s Deli downtown not the Carnegie. They make a better pastrami anyhow, still one of the very few places that slices the pastrami by hand which allows for all the fatty goodness.

Speaking of which, my brother used to go to the 2nd Avenue Deli with my old man all the time. One time, they sat down and dad started in on the complimentary cole slaw. He was a fast talker and a fast eater. He started to choke on the salad just as the waiter arrived. My brother ordered two pastrami sandwiches while the Old Man, eyes wet, face red, downed a glass of water. Before he finished drinking he held up his hand to the waiter. Put the glass down, out-of-breath, and said, “Fatty.”

[Photo Credit: Rachelleb.com]

Four-Letter Word

On my out of my apartment building this morning, I run into an older guy carrying a laundry bag.

“Looks like a beautiful day out there,” he says.

“Sure does.”

“You going to work?”

What am I Jeff Lebowski? “Sure am,” I say.

“That’s a sure way to spoil a good day,” he says. “Or as my father liked to say, ‘Work is the curse of the drinking class.’”

My Old Man would have raised his glass and gotten a chuckle out of that one.

[Picture by Bags]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver