He loved Woodstock ~ Snoopy's funny feathered friend, not the rock festival ~ and he had an affinity for Arlo Guthrie's 18-minute & 34-second paen in favor of Thanksgiving & rant against the draft.
He worked as a G-Man for the FBI before I was born. Mom made him hang up his holster after a couple of years on the job in DC and Newark, NJ, because, she said "that gun of his scared me."
He was a gentle spirit, who loved nothing more than to take off his shirt, pull out an ice-cold beer (Schlitz was his brand in the early days, Natural Lite in later years, for some reason...probably all boiled down to the cost) & mow the lawn in the blistering Texas sun. He had to pay for that habit the hard way as he got older, when a dermatologist diagnosed melanoma, and he had a huge hunk of flesh carved out of his back.
He called himself "a compulsive cookie eater."
My Dad once drove a tanker truck for Texaco to earn enough money to fulfill his dreams at the University of Texas. He was a "Subway Soldier" on the island of Manhattan during WWII, charged ~ along with his buddies ~ with protecting the Big Apple from Nazi attack. After his NYC stint, he served out the remainder of his tour with the Eskimos, up on Baffin Island, up near the Arctic Circle. After trying his hand in Government Work, he traveled the US & the world in a series of jobs; he met presidents, prime ministers & even a couple of kings & a queen, I'm told.
But his favorite job came later life, when he became a grandpa.
My folks turned over a new chapter in their lives 22 years ago, & Dad relished his new role. He exposed the girls to gardening; he introduced them to 2 invisible mice, named Jerry & Midge, who lived in what my eldest termed the "glove department" of his car & baked the most delicious chocolate chip cookies. He took them to the Kennedy Center, DC's preeminent stage for the performing arts. And he opened their ears to the world of music.
Specifically? Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," as the epic is formally known.
No, he didn't play them selections from the 45, or the LP, cassette or even CD. He set up a cafe, of sorts, in my parents' cramped DC rowhouse, which he christened, "Alice's Restaurant."
The kids took turns playing "Alice." Alice, of course, owned the restaurant. The cafe featured 2 staples: food for thought, & checkers.
My Mom bought plastic Sesame Street plates & cups. The chicas scribbled out new menus, every time they visited. The kitchen area was under the stairs, near my grandmother's doll cradle & the Oxford Unabridged English Dictionary. The grandkids dished out the "food," while Grandpa served up some mean games of checkers.
Well, the kids grew up. Jerry & Midge turned out to be residents not of the "glove department," but of Grandpa's vivid imagination. When my folks sold the Capitol Hill house, we watered the garden one last time. But Alice, & memories of the hours spent with Grandpa in that cramped rowhouse living room, will always linger.
Arlo, you're right: You can get anything you want...at Alice's Restaurant.