Apartment, Basketball, Black Belt, Bookie, Coffee, Cube Steak, Dee-Dee, Father, Gambling, Georgia Tech, Girlfriend, Karate, Marquette, Money, Mother, Ninth Avenue, Ninth street, Thanksgiving, Windsor Place, YMCA
Day After Thanksgiving…
“Can I have ten dollars?” I ask my mother as she sits on the couch watching television, sipping a cup of black coffee.
Without looking at me, she asks, “For what?”
Every time I ask her for money, she always questions me.
“There’s a basketball clinic tonight at the YMCA,” I replied.
“No, I don’t have it.” She barked as her eyes never left the screen.
I don’t even know why I ask anymore? Just once I want to hear, “Sure, here you go sweetie. Have a good time.”
I mumble something under my breath as I walk away.
Mom ignored me.
Usually after I mumble something she’ll say, “WHAT DID YOU SAY MISTER?”
As I walk out of our apartment she shouts, “GO DOWN TO TIMBOO’S AND ASK YOUR FATHER!”
I haven’t seen that prick in weeks.
He doesn’t give a shit about me but it’s a worth a try.
I remember he used to come by on Saturday mornings to get me. We’d head down to Timboo’s and I would spend the whole afternoon there. But before we got to Timboo’s we’d stop off at the Cube Steak on ninth street for breakfast.
Walking out of our apartment, I hang a left on Windsor Place, down the block, past my girl’s house and across seventh avenue.
For late November, it’s actually a nice day. The sun is out and it has to be at least fifty degrees.
It didn’t cross my mind to ask my girlfriend to walk down to Timboo’s with me. All I thought about was getting the money from my father for the clinic. Besides, I was just with her last night until midnight. She’s probably still sleeping.
When I get to 11th street I make a left and head towards fifth avenue.
Outside Timboo’s there’s a few guys standing on the corner shooting the breeze.
Red D. has a cup of coffee in his right hand. Roger C. is leaning against the lamp post reading the New York Post and Dee-Dee is checking out a hot girl across the avenue.
“Wow, look at that honey over there,” Dee-Dee muttered.
We all look over at her. Even Roger interrupts his reading to take a peek.
“She’s young enough to be your daughter,” Red implied.
“Shit, if there’s grass on the field, let’s play ball!” Dee-Dee insisted.
All three guys laugh. Even I had to smile. And Dee-Dee was right, he was fine.
There’s always hot babes on fifth avenue.
I turn around and look through the front window of Timboo’s to see if my father is in there. He’s always in the same spot at the bar. If he’s not in his spot, he’s on the pay phone by the window.
There’s three guys in there, including the bartender.
Dad’s not there.
“Stevie, what’s up kid?” Red D. asks as he looks over at me.
“Hey Red, you see my father?”
“He’s not here yet, should be here soon though. I’m waiting for him too, he owes me some money.”
Roger picks his head up from the paper. Red smiles at him.
“That was some bet last night,” Roger noted.
“I knew Georgia Tech wouldn’t cover,” Red bragged.
That was some game. I watched the whole thing.
Dee-Dee walks over to me and puts both fists up like a boxer and gets down in a stance.
“Come on Stevie, put ’em up baby!”
I stand there and watch him bob and weave.
Dee-Dee is a black belt and is always looking to get me to learn Karate. Every time I see him, he wants to spar.
He scares me. Not in a bad way but now he starts jumping around and kicking into the air like Bruce Lee.
What the fuck?
I think to myself.
He’ll kill me if one of those kicks land at my head.
Dee-Dee taps me on the head with an open palm and walks into the bar.
I could never learn Karate, I’d get my ass kicked but it would be cool to be able to karate chop someone and peg someone with a flying drop kick.
Plus, no one would fuck with me if I knew Karate.
“Hey kid,” Roger says as he walks past me, stuffing his newspaper in the back of his pants.
“Who you like today?” he adds.
Before I could answer, he’s inside the bar.
Roger is always asking me who I like?
He doesn’t mean which girls I like either. He wants to know which teams I like to win or which ones will cover the spread?
Red’s alone on the corner now, sipping at his coffee as he continues to look around the empty streets.
I’m sure he’s keeping an eye out for my father. Red’s head is on a swivel. Looking left, then right.
My father’s a bookie.
Red bet Marquette last night, he was getting five points. They won the game outright by two.
I have given serious thoughts to placing bets on basketball games. I read the betting lines every morning. I circle who I think will cover. I usually get a lot of games right when I check the scores the following day.
But my father would probably never let me gamble.
Wonder how much Red had on the game?
I hope my father can give me the ten dollars for the clinic.
My wife brought out the fake tree that we have yesterday and found that one of the legs was missing from the stand. She tried numerous contraptions to make it work, to no avail. I told her we should go out an get a real tree and she said she doesn’t want to deal with the needles.
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
We better hurry up because our 13 year-old daughter is giving us a hard time about why we don’t have one up yet and it’s December 16. We’re really hoping to get one today. Hopefully I can talk my wife out of getting a fake one. There is a few guys selling them in a nearby lot. I have noticed the prices dropping with each passing day.
I actually saw where someone in my neighborhood had their tree up right after Thanksgiving. They were surely “in the spirit.”
To be honest though I’m not a big Christmas tree guy. I could care less to tell you the truth. Fake, real, it doesn’t matter. The time you put it up, who cares?
As a kid living on ninth avenue I remember my mother getting us a tree. Location in your house was important. We lived in a five-room railroad apartment on ninth avenue so the only place we could put it was in the corner of our living room. We’d move a coffee table into a bedroom and set up shop in the same area every year.
The artificial tree was easy to assemble. All you did was take the sticks/branches and slide them into the wooden pole; then decorate it with the ornaments, lights, garland, and don’t forget the star at the top of the tree. Pulling out the decorations sucked. They would be thrown in boxes from a year ago tucked away in a closet somewhere; the lights were always tangled. Some of the balls were broken too.
We once had this really cool hand-made collectible that we bought from Bargain Land placed down at the bottom of the tree. It had a small ceramic baby Jesus, his mom Mary and a few apostles hanging out.
Putting the tree together you would start at the bottom and work your way up – that was the golden rule. I always wanted to put the “balls’ on first. Decorating it was fun; taking the decorations off sucked. We always fought over who would put the star at the top. Come to think if it, our star was always crooked.
As we got older mom would eventually get us a real tree. I loved the smell of real trees. Every year there was always someone by the lot on 16th street with a tree business. There was tall trees, short trees, wide ones and skinny ones. They’d be out there with a ton of trees leaned up against the fence trying to sell. It was great strategy to have their business right by the train station. There was always a fire burning nearby in a garbage can so the tree sellers could stay warm. One year mom made me drag it all the way home. Now that sucked.
The tree stand was a pain in the ass. I remember one year mom trying to put it together and sticking the thick base of the tree inside the stand and getting it to stand up straight. Those screws drove us nuts. We could never get them evenly tightened. Often times our tree was wobbly, looking like it was going to tip over.
Mom gave me the job of watering the damn thing. I hated getting down low and crawling under to pour water into the stand. The needles were pointy.
And the lights on the tree; I think we were the only family that kept their lights on 24-7.
My wife has had a cool ‘Charlie Brown’ tree the past couple of years. With a fake tree there’s no mess. With a real tree you get all the pine needles all over the place when you drag it in and drag it out of the house.
I know we’re a bit behind but what’s the date where everyone usually has their tree up? My wife told me that when she was about eight years old her father (whom they nicknamed “Scrooge” during the holidays) waited until Christmas Eve to get their tree. Needless to say, the pickings were very slim. She said they got the most pitiful tree and cried all the way home.
Mom always put our tree up a week before Christmas and took it down a week after.
What kind of tree do you have?
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Years!
I wanted to take this time to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.
As a kid I recall going to Greenwood Lake with my family to celebrate. At night, my cousins and I would put on a ‘play’ for the adults.
We’d eat turkey, stuffing and sit around the table telling stories and of course, watch football.
Have a safe holiday!
I wanted to reach out to all the readers of Container Diaries and wish them all a Happy Thanksgiving.
I am attempting a ‘first’ today; I am going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Taylor!
Who would’ve thought it…? I recall as a kid catching a glimpse of it on TV and wondering how all those people could line the streets of Manhattan sitting there freezing their asses off, curbside.
Wouldn’t you know it-I’ll be one of those people this morning. But the weather is supposed to be nice.
Have a great day!
Hope all is well with everyone. Sorry but I wasn’t able to blog the last couple of days – been out of town. Wireless was hard to come by. Also with the team in full swing, it’s getting harder and harder to get to the computer. Oh yeah, did I mention Taylor, our nine year-old is craving more and more attention?
We can all agree that with the day after Thanksgiving comes the famous leftovers. That’s right, turkey sandwiches with mayo, lettuce and anything else people choose to slap on a few pieces of bread. Turkey salad is also another idea.
Tossing the stuffing and mashed potatoes in the microwave and of course covering it with the leftover gravy.
How long do the leftovers last in your house?
Keep posting those comments and of course I appreciate all the e-mails. Like always, if you feel you can send me a solid post for the blog, I’d love to look it over and throw it up on the blog as a guest blog. Would love to hear about your memories of growing up in Windsor Terrace. Because I’m sure some people are getting a bit tired of hearing from me (especially my good friend P.P.W.) LOL…