Tuesday, March 07, 2017


When I was still in college I used to commute via the Long Island Rail Road. Every morning at the same time in the same car, I would find this fellow named Harry who worked for the Long Island Railroad. Most mornings Harry would lean against the window and sleep. On rear occasions, he would be talkative and relate some interesting insights not to mention interesting English. Harry had come from his native Sicily and established very deep roots on Long Island.

Harry was a friend of my Uncle who also worked for the L.I.R.R., and we would all sit together. But for 10 minutes or so it was Harry and me all by ourselves before my Uncle climbed aboard the train at the next stop.

One Monday morning I found Harry awake and asked him how his weekend was.

Me: Hey Harry how was your weekend?

Harry: Oh, Ima buyer a suit. Ima gotta go to a wedding.

Me: Where did you buy the suit?

Harry: Hoh, I'ma go a Rabbiter Hole.

Me: ????

Me: Where?

Harry: A Rabbiter Hole.

I thought about this for a moment and said:

Harry, do you mean Robert Hall, the clothes store at the end of Medford Avenue?

Harry said: Eh, a you sayer hur way, I sayer a mine.

Harry and his accent left a lot of confusion.  If he wasn't on the train or going to Rabbiter Hole, he was sure on the job. Since he reported to my Uncle Joe, he would at times call into my Uncle for advice or directions as what to do along the line. My uncle would work out of Richmond Hill and his crew could be anywhere along the many miles of commuter track.

One such call went something like this one morning:
"Elloa Joe?"
"Yeah Harry, what's up?"
"They puta hout da list a for the job assign-a-ments."
"OK, read them to me."
"Wella the jobba for trackaman: abullish."
"What was that Harry???"
"The jobba for the trackaman: abullish."
"A bull ish!!!???"
"A yea, thatsa what she say: abullish."
"Harry, spell the word for me."
"Ma sure, eh-bee-hoe-ella-hye-essa-heych, abullish.

My uncle thinks for a moment then like the Holy Spirit striking the twelve apostles in that room after the Last Supper announces: "OH! YOU MEAN ‘ABOLISH!"
"DATSA WHAT I SAY! Abullish!"


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