Pops and I were sitting having dinner at a restaurant owned by one of his former students, Jimmy, who my dad referred to as a “nice Greek kid” even though that “kid” was probably in his fifties. As we were sipping wine and enjoying saganaki, he comes with this gem out of the clear blue sky:
“That reminds me, did I ever tell you about the time the Greek mafia was after my ass?”
Cue Maria’s look of shock. “No, you failed to mention that. What the hell are you talking about?”
He grinned, “Ehhhh…I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“But you’re the one who brought it up! You can’t leave me hanging like that!” I cried.
“Never mind, nothing happened,” he smiled innocently and sipped his wine.
“No, Dad, you simply CANNOT drop that kind of bomb on me and then not deliver. I bet it was over a girl. Whose girl did you steal?”
He looked up. Gotcha. I knew it. Sly fox.
“It wasn’t me,” he protested. “It was that damn Ernie Stingle.” (Ernie Stingle was Dad’s fellow teacher and drinking buddy)
“So Ernie stole some mobster’s woman?”
“Eh…I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“Damn you, DAD! Tell me the story about the goddamn MAFIA!” People were starting to look at us. Considering that a) my dad was deaf so I typically had to shout for him to hear me and b) he was pissing me off withholding this crucial information, I guess I was making a bit of a scene.
“Mahreeeaaa, quiet down, ho-ney.”
“You’re not going to tell me, are you?”
He paused and cut a piece of shrimp into tiny baby size pieces.
“Hah! Did I ever tell you about the time Stingle and I got in a knife fight with some Mexicans? Jeeezus Chrrrist! We had fun.”
I swear. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.