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Over Here: 69 - Life With Father

...only one of Dad's friends ever proved unacceptable to Mom. His name was Joe J., and he was a bumpy-faced, foul-talking, woman-hungry clod who had no more notion of how to act around a lady than I'd have had of proper behavior in the presence of a splinted anteater...

Ron Pataky continues his autobiography.

Two good friends of Mom's were Bob and Liz McClurg. He was a pilot and frequently gone. Liz used to hang out at our house a good bit when he was away, a situation that would occur even more frequently after Bob was tragically killed in a plane crash. Liz drove me nuts! First, she was beautiful. Second, she was stacked.

Liz would have had no way of knowing of my unbridled lust. I kept it firmly bridled when she was around! And anyway, even my young psyche could discern that she was naive when it came to matters of a distinctly sensual nature. Mom was never one to appreciate profanity or dirty jokes, so the two of them, as with all of Mom's friends, always kept things on the bright and cheery side. Couldn't the gorgeous kid have just once hinted at a lustier layer hidden somewhere within her beautifully-sculpted borders? A fleeting, passionate look. A discreet sideways glance that told me she felt my longing! Anything! But, never once did I receive so much as a poor man's flitter concerning the urges I knew had to be lurking somewhere within her. Not one! Not once!

It was pretty much that way with all of Mom's lady friends. Of course, most of them were considerably less desirable than the ultra-fetching Liz, and a few were even yucky. The whole lengthy scenario was to provide me with a valuable lesson for later in life. I could be ignored not only by the breathtaking women of the world, but by the drab and dreary as well! What a guy!

One story my Mother told for years is simply too cute to leave out of any book. She and I were leaving for the store one day when, as she told it, we chanced upon a hard, flattened squirrel near the curb side. The damned thing was a pancake! Add to this the fact that days in the hot sun had turned it into a flat raven crisp to boot. Seeming to summon all of my vast medical knowledge, I apparently looked down at the poor thing with what she described as "Ronnie's solemnest bedside manner," and quietly asked, "How long has he been this way?" She swore she'd thought at the time that I was about roll up my sleeves and, had a mouth been identifiable, initiate recussitation!

While Mom had many more close friends than Dad during the years, Pappy was not without his buddies. Dad Adam, it should be noted, was a people-person. He seemed to genuinely like our friends and neighbors, and generally got along with people in grand fashion. This, of course, made his behavior at home all the more inexplicable. Why was the guy so mean? It was a question I must have asked myself a million zillion times through those years, and the only answer I seemed to come up with was that there had to be something wrong with me! After all, he was the popular guy. I was just one more insignificant brown bubble in a sidewalk-to-sewer run-off.

It was moreover true that in all those years, only one of Dad's friends ever proved unacceptable to Mom. His name was Joe J., and he was a bumpy-faced, foul-talking, woman-hungry clod who had no more notion of how to act around a lady than I'd have had of proper behavior in the presence of a splinted anteater. Since Mom was such a lady, the incredibly brief moments Joe would share with Mom (always in the watchful presence of Dad) were doomed from the very beginning. It eventually reached the theretofore unknown level of "I don't want that nasty man around here!" It was the only time I ever heard such a thing from Mom, and I must confess I had to agree with her. I didn't like Joe J. either. He reminded me of a warthog, except that Joe was uglier.

Two others of Dad's friends began their friendship as business acquaintances, although each would eventually become lifelong buddies. One of these was Minor Dow, who had two boys roughly the same age as Gordon and me. The second was Alvin Klomparens, a handsome lad from Holland, Michigan, with whom Dad' first started in business at the Holland Furnace Company. Both Minor and Alvin were incredible fathers, and I would have gladly traded Dads on the spot at any time during my childhood, had I been able to find a taker. Both of them treated Gordie and me like their own, which simply added to our confusion at day's end. Throw in the frequent presence of kindly Uncle Christ, and you have a situation in which said confusion was compounded daily. If we were that bad, why did other men seem to like us? Meanwhile, on what must have been the anniversary of something, Dad informed me for what must have been the four billionth time that I wasn't "worth my salt." I didn't understand the phrase exactly, but I didn't think I liked it. Especially when it came with a stinging cuff to the nape.


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