Friday, October 09, 2015


Fourteen hundred and ninety two,
 Three ships sailed out to sea
The Nina and the Pinta and the Santa Marie
And as they sailed the stormy seas
That mad historic day,
From way up in the crow’s nest
You could hear Luigi say:

Please Mr. Columbus turna the ship around
Take me back I wanna feel my two feet on the ground.
Whya you tella Isabella that the world is round?
Please Mr. Columbus, turna the ship around.

Dad was not a good traveler. If you took him out of his element, mainly his chair and TV, and took him with you on a journey, all sorts of bad things happened to him and his fellow travelers. It didn’t help that he had a rotten son to exacerbate the situation for some laughs.

Before any trip was planned, we often discussed leaving in the middle of the night, tiptoeing out of the house and leaving a note. The note would say something like:

‘Dear Dad,
Went to an all night diner, will be back soon.
Mom and kids.’

This was not a good idea since once lunch time rolled around, he would be looking for Mom to make him lunch!

One year in the early spring of 1969, we had to go to Connecticut for some reason and were staying in a campus dorm of a few rooms I believe. There were about 7 of us not counting the bride and groom. The bride and groom who would get married that July made arrangements with a college for us to share this apartment.

We sailed from Port Jefferson to Bridgeport, and if you know the state of Connecticut, it has a rather large Polish population. We discussed the idea of wearing Kielbasa around our necks to get by customs, then they would see us and say: “OK, you can come in, you’re one of us!” Being how one of the 7 was Polish and the new member, the groom was also Polish, we started to make our version of Polish jokes. Nothing nasty, just things like I just mentioned.

Once the ferry left its berth and started the pleasant journey across the Long Island Sound things started to go wrong.

Dad: “I have to use the rest room, Joseph, where’s the rest room?

Having never been on the ferry before and being we were on the stern of the ship, I pointed over my shoulder figuring, how off could I be? Mom, having known Dad for a while, suggested I go with him so he doesn’t get lost. I was the blind seeing-eye dog! We search the ship and find the rest room, a coed establishment with a lock on the door. It had two stalls and so we entered the unlocked room. As I look down I see a ladies shoe, just as Dad pulls open the stall where to his and my great surprise sits a lady! This was not an ordinary lady but one I knew! A somewhat dignified woman who worked in the school office when I was a child and I knew the whole family! She was calmly until that point, doing what she does best in similar situations, but privately. Dad overcome by the shock says what he says best in these familiar situations all to often: “OOOPS!”

Now I’m rolling out of the restroom in hysterics, my mother is looking at me in fear as I stagger back to the stern of the ship.

(That’s another story to come)

“No Ma, better! I start to tell her when Dad shows up, totally in disarray and says:
“Fongoola, the goddamned stall is occupied, is there any other restrooms on this boat fer Christ sakes?”

Tomorrow: How to operate a water faucet.


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