One of the many things I loved (And, even though it’s been many years, still love) about my Dad was his sense of humor. If you’ll humor me, I’d like to share a story to illustrate the point.
Along with working days at U. S. Steel South Works, on Chicago’s South Side, my Dad worked many nights as the owner/operator of his own TV/Radio repair business. Frequently, Saturdays included a visit to the local Allied (pre-Radio Shack) store to stock up on tubes and other things. A very young me would usually be at my Dad’s side. A very young me was usually dressed in some degree of cowboy attire. One Saturday, as we walked up to the counter, the young me was at my Dad’s side wearing my cowboy hat and bandana. The man behind the counter said something like “Hmm … wouldn’t a real cowboy have his guns on?”
I was not a happy cowboy.
The next Saturday, cowboy hat, bandana, holsters filled with my trusty cap guns, the young me again approached the counter at my Dad’s side. The evil doer behind the counter smiled, but lobbed a parting salvo something like “Nice, but you’d think a real cowboy would have a horse.”
If “True Grit” had been released at this point, and if a young me understood the meaning, much to my Dad’s chagrin, I might have uttered Rooster Cogburn’s (John Wayne) famous phrase about filling your hands.
The next part of the story is true and I even have the photographic evidence.
The next time we went to the Allied store, the young me was dressed in my usual cowboy attire but, by now, understood that my cowboy hero identity was not to be appreciated in this establishment. My Dad parked and we were walking down the block to the store when the cowboy gods intervened. At the end of the block was a photographer taking photos of kids … on a pony!!!
My Dad got a smile on his face.
I have no idea what magic my Dad worked when we walked up to the photographer. All I know is when we entered the Allied store my Dad was holding the reins and leading the horse with me in the saddle as I rode up to the counter!!!!
As I recall, the evil doer threw up his hands, laughed and said “I give up, you win!”
The young me was a very happy cowboy as he rode out of the store and into the sunset that day.
And my Dad was still smiling.