Went to see my mom yesterday, and on the way I passed by the house my father built in 1967. We moved into it when I was 14. It was the sum of his life’s work–his own Holy of Holies.
Once upon a time, on a snowy, bitter-cold winter’s night, in spite of being forbidden to stay out too late after weekend drumming gigs, I broke house rules and arrived home at 4 am. Joe Lanza, our percussionist, and I made the rounds of Montreal after our gig, and ended up eating at his father’s steak house at 2am. My young bottomless pit managed to accommodate three baked potatoes, stuffed with butter, sour cream and chives, a 24 oz. porterhouse, topping it all off with hot French apple pie a la mode.
I hoped and prayed my dad was somewhere 20,000 leagues under, deep into REM sleep and that not a mouse would be stirred by my late arrival. Joe dropped me off from his dad’s mammoth /68 Chrysler 300 that he’d parked in our snow-packed driveway, which had a steep incline. He assured me the Imperial tank would easily plough through the snow drifts and tear up the driveway without a hitch. Those tires screamed and howled like wild dogs after a kill, but alas the 5000-pound hunk of metal fell prey to the elements, slipped and punched a huge hole in the garage door like a battering ram. The door was right below my parents’ bedroom. I tried my damnedest to steer that car away from its objective, almost sacrificing myself in the process, leaping out of harm’s way just before impact. As if in slo-mo, the door bowed, creaked, and cracked, echoing through the neighborhood like loud gunshots and snapping giant boughs.
Feeling like an all-seeing eye was now upon me, I cast a wary glance upward and saw the drapes slowly draw open, as my father’s boxer’s nose poked through the lace like the end of a sniper’s barrel. His searing, narrowed eyes were right behind, boring a hole through me.
I knew I was in big trouble, not only for the garage door, but for bucking house rules. (my being sixteen alone was enough to piss off any parent.) My mom, my blessed and merciful intercessor, smoothed out matters some and called in a tow-truck to yank the 300’s nose out of our new crumpled garage door.
‘When I think about those nights in Montreal….’
Nice to be back.
Look forward to Saturday.