Story Time: Life Lesson by J-Dub
Ha! Friday the 13th. If I was the suspicious sort, I’d be holed up under the covers until 12:01 am when it is safe to come out again. For the record, I considered doing just that. I even took the day off. But instead I am diverting my anxious energies into writing. I’ve got a boatload of nerves to shake off. I’ve been cooped up with nothing but time to overthink. Anyhoo, without further ado, here is my story for the day.
I am the youngest of eight from a blended family who grew up on Howerton Street, in Highland Hills on the southeast side of San Antonio Texas. Though SA is a big city, we stayed in our bubble. Most if not all of my neighbors on a four block radius belonged to the same parish church, St. Margaret Mary’s.
I was raised by this tribe. My parents knew personally and socialized with the parents of my friends & neighbors. Idyllic, we had our own Cheers before there was Cheers. The local equivalent was called H&R – the Family Bar. No joke but I digress. Today’s story is not about that gathering place. However, I do reserve the right to have a H&R story in future editions of story time.
Back to topic. I couldn’t get away with anything. Constant neighborhood watch. My daddy couldn’t get away with anything either. Which brings us to today’s Life Lesson.
This particular day was a day like any other. Grandma J had come to stay with us for the week. The adults were sitting in the living room talking. Little pitcher with big ears aka Jilly was eavesdropping.
I can see the scene. The Harvest Gold carpet. The hideous floral couch in the same yellow tones. The wagon wheel coffee table and end tables. The bookshelf with encyclopedias. All mom’s knickknacks. We had one of those houses where the doors were always open, never locked.
Mr. T our neighbor came to visit and say hello to Grandma. He walks right in unannounced big as day. I can see his frame taking up most of the front door. Then this happened …
Daddy: Hello Bob (as he shakes his hand and claps him on the shoulder in a friendly greeting) haven’t I told you the front door is for whites only.
Grandma J (before Mr. T could say a word): !&!*!))_!!LL!**!CGHIILK!__P~ which is my attempt at writing what sounded like expletives in Czech.
We had no idea what she was saying but she jumped off the couch, finger pointed at my dad, telling him what for !@!@!@!wee!!*chika@***&*&^%$$!! All 4’9″ of her to my 6′ tall father. Then she ended with English and we understood.
Aloysius I did not raise you that way. We are all God’s children and your front door is for everyone. How awful to say something like that. You bring me shame!
Mr. T intervened. He said it was their schtick. That he had even said the same to my dad going through his front door. Mexicans only. Dad chimed in that it was a joke, not serious. But Grandma was not having it. These are the words I carry with me to this day.
Grandma J: If you want to joke then always make sure the joke is about something funny. And that? That was NOT funny!!
There was an apology that followed from my dad to all of us who were witness. You’re right maminka. I am very sorry for my unkind words. In all the years that followed, I never heard daddy say anything remotely like that again. He learned his lesson. We all did.
As always, more to come.