My father’s proudest moment was the day he finished remodeling the basement in our house in Pennsylvania.
It took him and my Uncle Frank almost a year of late nights after working as a mechanic in his shop. Somehow they performed.
The cheap paneling, wine-red carpet, and the almost too low acoustic drop ceiling defined the ultimate “man cave” in the sixties. There was a mustard topped pool table that, til this day, I don’t know how they got it down the stairs.
It soon became tradition for my parents to hold an annual Christmas Eve bash.
For two days beforehand my family seemed to have an endless list of things to do, buy, and cook. My mom’s tone of voice would make a Marine sergeant proud. The closer we got to zero hour the louder her voice became.
I still can see my brother and I answering the door bell and having to kiss aunts who squeezed our cheeks too hard and whose names we could barely recall. My brother and I mingled, lied about our grades and played pool most of the night.
But what I remember most is when guests were starting to leave and they could almost always be counted on to say, “Hey, let’s do this again next year.”
I looked at Petey with that “I’m gonna run away from home” look in my eye and he just smiled at me like he was constipated.
Well, most, if not all of those aunts and uncles are gone; however, I’m unfortunately branded with one searing memory: Ding Dong! Nicky, answer the door!
Nicholas Wallace, Miami