A Day That Went Down In History
As is usually the case the dates of my adventures seem to fade away over time, but this one I can assure you was St. Patrick’s Day. Ok so the year is still a fog but surely there is someone out there who remembers the year. I bet Paul Curtin could nail it down in a second, but me being a man,I refuse to ask for dates or directions until the gas tank is completely and totally empty.
What I do remember is that this was going to be the best Paddy’s day ever. Everything was in place. timing was crucial and somehow it all came together. As I recall the gang from Zerega Ave was gonna meet up with those folks from Castle Hill, (way before Jenny was on the block} and hop the 6 train. That’s the Pelham line. We, that is those of us from in and around Parkchester, would wait at the Westchester Ave/177 St Station along with the folks from Archer ST.. As we assembled at our point we took up the beer collection. Then a block away we hit the beer distributor. Now I had the money and just handed it all to the guy working saying, ” just keep passing out cases til the money is done. No problem for him. As I was first out the door, case on my shoulder, with Tim Brown beside me under a similar load, we hit the station first. There didn’t seem any reason to stop and get tokens to pay the fee so the first person jumped the turnstile and held the exit gate open for all to maneuver through more easily with a case or two in tow.
So, as it turns out when we hit the elevated platform and looked over to see how things were going,wow, a sight to see and remember. All the way fro the distributor, down the street, across Westchester Square and heading up into the station one right behind the other, were people with cases on their shoulders. The amount of beer must have been staggering. And I am quite sure had an impact on the rest of the days events.
With too many individual tales to relate I will focus on the several that are best in focus, considering the enormous amount of Budweiser consumed.
First the train arrived packed with those from the uptown “gangs” which we held by blocking the doors for the longest time til the last person and case had boarded. Full now of Mostly Irish folks with green hats, sticks, green faces, I mean green everything. Off we went.
Departure was at about mid Central Park and we set up on the Parade route by pushing our way through and declaring an area the size of Texas as Bronx property. As we arrived peple began to stack case after case of beer against one of the trees that poked out of those small squares of dirt left unpaved just for the trees, until to my small mind they appeared to be seven feet high in a circle all around, maybe two or three cases deep.
Well that was the point where N.Y.s finest thought we had crossed the line, and politely ( I think) asked us to vacate the area since this somehow had violated the unspoken rule of the day that you could drink in public as long as the beer did not exceed the height of the average Nephelim.
Now at this point things get a little hazy, we had the people from all over the Bronx raging in age from, my guess would be, say 9 yrs to 30 something all around. And I really can’t be sure, rumor has it that at the command to leave a fella named Goober let out a punch that took the fine office back about 30 ft. As I say I really couldn’t see between all the people and beer, and everything. All I am sure of is I was wearing a hippie leather vest I had acquired from Tinki, at some outlandish price, and that I scooped up a case and with my other hand grabbed Timmy by the collar and headed south.
As we skedaddled out of there we were subjected to some awful sounds and blood splattering which only helped to hasten our exit. A few blocks down we hit the wall and entered the Park. Big mistake. After downing bout the entire case, and walking here and there, My insides weren’t feeling that grand. But there in front of us was the two great rocks with the valley between. On one rock were a group screaming at the other BROOKLYN!, And on the other a group, many who we knew, Screaming back DA BRONX! This went back and forth several times before both sides came charging down into what had to be the “valley of the shadow of death” to my pea brain mind. So mighty warriors we were in we went. Several seconds, or minutes, or shots to the face or head with fists and bottles, a tug on my fringed vest and Timmy and I were on a high rock tending our wounds, me puking all over my hippie vest, With my older cousin Tommy, telling us to stay outta there or we would be killed. That was all I needed to hear so when the puking ended and the bleeding stopped we made our way to the uptown 6 train, got on board with all the others who had been wounded in battle for the long sick ride home. Another fine St. Patrick’s day to remember for years. Couldn’t wait til next year!
The Unknown Poet