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Sunday, July 23, 2017

SOMETHING FISHY WITH THE WINE!


Dad was a softy, he never liked to see people unhappy or struggle. When it came to his own family, he was particularly diligent and aware of everyone's aches and pains. In the early 1950's, Dad decided to book a little fishing trip, with me and Grandpa.
Captain of the ship

Getting grandpa out of the house on Fulton Street in Brooklyn was a major effort, Grandpa didn't like to go anywhere that required his traveling for more than 15 minutes, and that had to be round trip.

Being how we were living on Long Island, Dad decided one summer to get grandpa out of the house in Brooklyn and take him fishing; "We have to get Grandpa out of the house!" We went to Mastic Beach on a Saturday and rented a row boat, got a few rods and reels and bait, and set out to fish. Oh, Captain, my Captain!

Fisherman and thinker
My thinking was that that was all the equipment we would need since we were fishing we would eat what we caught. Build a fire on the beach and cook our catch. Dad and Grandpa both seemed perplexed by my plan, and since I was only 11-years old, what the Hell did I know. The problem with the plan was there was a huge package coming on board the ride to the beach, it consisted of three Italian heroes, packed with peppers and eggs, and a chunk of provolone cheese and a Genoa salami, along with a gallon of Grandpa's homemade wine, courtesy of grandfather's bride, Grandma Francesca.

Being the ‘city type', both Dad and Grandpa dressed for the occasion. Dad wore his shorts, sandals and black dress socks, while Grandpa never changed. Grandpa wore his work pants, brown unpolished shoes, and white shirt, along with his fedora, which he camped under come rain or shine, baptism or wake.

Dad became the grand admiral, directing me, the only crew member that showed up that day to man the oar, bait the hooks and full steam ahead.

As we set ‘sail', we each had our position on the boat, Dad sat up front with his rod, tossing it in into the drink (literally), and I trying to get the hook that caught me in the neck was sitting mid-ship so to speak, while Grandpa sat in the back, legs crossed serenely holding his rod, eyes closed, dreaming of home.

Suddenly Grandpa caught a fish, then another, then still another! Dad was still fishing with his rod, and I was almost done getting the hook out of my neck and ready to fish.

After a while with Grandpa's success, I asked him how he was able to catch so many fish.

Grandpa looks at me, squinting in the sun and says: "SSSHHH".

I looked at him and he says, "SSSHHH, thatsa how you catcha da fish!!"

As we floated along the Great South Bay, Dad and Grandpa had their wine, and it seemed fine until we reached the shore to unload the boat. When Dad stepped off the boat, he suddenly looked like he saw a ghost, stopping in mid-tracks to catch himself. Sitting at the edge of the dock he just sat there with his head in his hands. Dad had too much wine! Grandpa, however, stepped from the boat onto the dock and fish in hand looked at Dad and said: "Tony, prendi il tuo tempo." (Tony, take your time.)


As we floated along the Great South Bay, Dad and Grandpa had their wine, and it seemed fine until we reached the shore to unload the boat. When Dad stepped off the boat, he suddenly looked like he saw a ghost, stopping in mid-tracks to catch himself. Sitting at the edge of the dock he just sat there with his head in his hands. Dad had too much wine! Grandpa, however, stepped from the boat onto the dock and fish in hand looked at Dad and said: "Tony, prendi il tuo tempo." (Tony, take your time.)

Apparently drinking on the water didn’t make you drunk because of the movement of the rowboat, but step on land and goodbye.




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