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Thursday, May 19, 2016

THE LITTLE FOOLER


Dad loved to play puzzles, that is, if the puzzle had a monetary reward. I think he was an interesting man in that he had very little education, worked hard and looked for ways to make our lives better. If you asked him what he would do if he won the Irish Sweepstakes; he would tell you he would give it to his kids. He never had any pleasures for himself, a humble man who lived for his children. Yes, money was important, but for good reasons.

Every Sunday in the NY Daily News back in the 50’s there was a puzzle that offered a cash prize, called the Little Fooler.

Every Sunday dad would get the Daily News, read the sports page and then go to the Little Fooler and spend the day trying to figure out the puzzle. Then on Sunday night, dad would take a stamp and fill out the puzzle with his answers and mail it out to the Daily News. I believe these puzzles were complicated reasoning that required reading each of the different clues properly to get the correct word as the answer. There were many answers in the puzzle so it was difficult. When he finished he called someone who he considered well-educated who also played the game.

Sonny was a college graduate from Adelphi University, a wonderful father, and a great husband. He was the Lutheran my cousin married who had my grandmother’s sanction.

So there was dad comparing his answers with Sonny who was on the other end of the phone. They agree on everything but the last clue. Dad is arguing his point of view and so is Sonny arguing his. Sonny convinces my dad that he is right, and dad defers to Sonny and his college degree and changes his answer.

They publish the answers a few days later, and dad had everything right! Everything that is except the last answer the one that he was convinced to change!

For years after, dad remembered how he missed out once again, thinking about how Sonny convinced him to change his answer. I’m surprised dad never requested to be buried in the shade! “Oh, that Sonny, I had it!”

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