It is part of every boy’s maturation to realize that his dad has feet of clay, and is prone to the same faults and vanities as everyone else in the world.
I learned that some time ago … I don’t remember when exactly, which suggests the process was gradual and without trauma. And now, I can relate to his shortcomings just as well as I relate to anybody else’s.
This week, we — mayyyyyybe — catch my dad engaging in a little self-serving stretching of the truth.
To which I say:
“Well played, Slick.”
Even in his high school days, my dad was a working semipro musician, playing piano and saxophone in a variety of settings. We wrote about one of his gigs, at a high school prom, just a week or two ago.
As a result of that, there is a steady stream of “JOB” notations on the calendars of 1961-62. (Occasionally, there is also a “NO JOB” note in my grandpa’s writing — usually following two straight nights of gigs. Enough was enough, I guess.)
A few years ago, my dad admitted to me that not all those “JOB” listings were quite what they appeared.
See, the Blumenau family only had one car in my dad’s high school years. And, like most high schoolers, my dad liked getting the keys for a night of cruising the town — or crossing the state line to New York, where the beering age was 18.
So from time to time, my dad would log a phantom “JOB” on the calendar as a means of claiming dibs on the family car.
He couldn’t do it too often, of course. For one thing, phantom jobs didn’t pay. For another, my grandparents would only let him out so often — so if he took too many fake jobs, he might have to turn down a real one.
But, on a limited basis, it was an ingenious way to get out of the house with four wheels at one’s disposal, and no one the wiser.
I have no way of knowing whether this week’s calendar listing is a phantom gig or a real one.
I sorta suspect it might have been real, because it happened on a Thursday night at 6:30, and there’s nothin’ shakin’ but the leaves on the trees at 6:30 on a weeknight.
On the other hand, this particular calendar listing is devoid of all detail save for time. No location, no mention of a leader for the gig.
So, who knows? Maybe my dad threw his saxophone in the trunk right after dinner, and spent the evening of June 1, 1961, drinking cans of warm Rheingold with his high-school buddies.
To which I say, again:
Well played, Slick.