Wednesday, November 13, 2013

He Walks Just Like His Father.

My Dad was a great storyteller.  He could make the most insignificant sorts of incidents memorable to all.

I can easily visualize Dad telling one of these stories.  He would get this great smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.  He would start off very seriously, but he could never maintain that long.  Pretty soon he'd start to giggle.  He got so much joy out of sharing these with those he loved.

Towards the end of his life Dad would tell his favorite stories pretty often.  Some of us thought this was an indication of minor dementia, that he'd forgotten he'd just told this.  Now that I've thought more about this though, I don't think that was the case.  I think he knew that he'd told the story recently, but that he got so much happiness telling his stories, and he knew that we got just as much joy hearing him tell them, that he could not resist.

In our family laughter can easily be triggered by just saying any number of short phrases -- "Turn Around?"  "Ma-TRO-Buis?" "Pull Over If You See a Good Spot" "He Knows the Near Way!" "Flat Tire"

One of the most famous though, is the story of the man who walks just like his Father.

Here is the story as Dad would tell it:

One summer we were driving up to Boston.  This was probably in the late 70s and only Kim & Bill were with us since they were the only kids still living at home.  On this trip we had decided to visit Marge's cousin, Jack Meade, who lived on Staten Island in New York.

Marge had met Jack, but Jack was about 10 years younger than Marge and the last time they'd seen each other was when Jack was just a kid, so Marge wasn't sure she'd be able to recognize him.  We'd never been to his house, so when we got to Staten Island we stopped at a McDonald's near the area where we thought he lived and called, telling him where we were.

Jack said he knew exactly where the restaurant was and that he'd be over to meet us in a few minutes.

So we sat there snacking, looking out the windows waiting for our guide to show.

After a few minutes a guy walked through the parking lot. He didn't appear to be coming into the McDonald's, just passing through, but Marge looked closely at him and said, "Bill, I think that's him.  He walks just like his Father."

So I quickly went out the door and whistled.  That got the guy's attention and he turned towards me.  "Hey," I said, "We're over here!"

He turned and gave me a quizzically look, but didn't say anything.  He looked about the right age, so when he turned and started to walk away, I started following him.  "Hey, Jack?" I yelled, "Where are you going?"

He turned and looked at me, so I started walking a little faster, then, so did he.  Next thing I knew we were running down the street.  When he jumped over a hedge and tripped, I was able to catch up to him.  He jumped up and took a swing at me, so I knocked him down again.

"Jack," I said, "What the hell's the matter with you?  I'm Bill Locker, your cousin Dolly's husband."

"What the hell's a matter with me?" he replied, "What the hell's the matter with you?  My name's not Jack and I don't have any cousins named Dolly."

Well, this embarrassed me a little, so I apologized to the poor guy and went back the the restaurant.  While I was gone, the real Jack had shown up, so we left and went to their home.


Now here's the way Mom and Uncle Bill say it happened:

The stories are the same until about the time your Nana said, "Bill, I think that's him.  He walks just like his Father."

The guy she said this about actually did come into MacDonald's.  Dad went over to him and said, "Are you Jack Meade?"

The guy said, "No," so Dad sat back down and waited until he did show up.

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