Sunday, April 10, 2016
Angelo, Paul and John came through the kitchen door, laughing and joking, playfully punching each other on the arm or trying to give each other wet willies. Angelo let out a sound of disgust as his two older brothers double teamed him and got him in each ear.
The two older boys didn't know what was funnier, the sounds their little brother was making or the contortions he was going through to wipe the moisture from his ears without actually having to touch it. "Eeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaa- uuuuuuuuuggggghhhhhhhh!" he bellowed, scrunching his shoulders up and trying to wipe this ears on his t shirt.
Their father finally got their attention when he reached into the junk drawer, pulled out a whistle and blew it with enough force to cut through the noise they were making. The boys winced and covered their ears, even Angelo who had grabbed a hold of the hem of his t shirt and had pulled it up and was using it to absorb his brother's spit. He was grateful that the wadded up material also doubled as convenient, impromptu ear plugs.
The boys immediately quieted and shot their father slightly disgruntled looks as their ears continued to ring even after he'd stopped blowing.
Giosua, ignoring his son's displeasure, put the whistle down with a smile and clapped his hands. "Now that I have your attention, I have some good news! I found the new Georgia office site! They were so pleased in New York that they gave me a bonus and have authorized me to begin renovations on the site immediately."
"That's great, dad!" "Finally!" Paul and John said excitedly. "Where did you find it?" asked Angelo.
"Actually, it's the old Grayson's Marble Works." Giosua said with a smile toward his youngest.
Angelo flushed a little, gave another swipe at his ears with his t shirt then asked with a cheeky grin, "Do I get a finder's fee?"
"You're gonna get *something*, little boy." Giosua said jokingly.
"Why didn't you recommend it sooner, dad?" Johnny asked.
"There was a lot of clean up involved, not only the left over stone and dust but the broken windows, graffiti, and other damage as well." Giosua replied, ignoring his youngest son's deep blush. "There's the removal of old, rusted machinery, the remains of years’ worth of human, rodent and avian residents to clear out. There is some structural damage that has to be repaired but nothing that would make the purchase of the building a bad idea. My concern was that the cost of the cleanup would actually land the company in the red and cause a deficit that would take years to dig out of."
"However, the size and overall condition of the building are perfect. Plenty of space for offices, research and development. Plans have even been made for the stone to be polished and turned into sculptures. The machines will be dismantled and junked. I'll be hiring cleanup crews and people to come in to repair the dry wall, paint and such, and we'll be in business by January." he finished with a smile.
The boys went to their father and offered smiles, hugs, congratulations and pats on the back.
"So boys, wash up, go to your rooms, polish your shoes, and get into your nice clothes. We're all going out to celebrate!"
Angelo looked askance at his father. "Tonight, dad?"
"Yes, tonight." Gio replied with a slightly puzzled expression.
"It's just that I was gonna go out to the A&W with 'Deo and Milo and a few other guys."
"Your friends will understand, and you have all summer to hang out at the A&W with them."
"Can't we go out another night?" Angelo pleaded.
"This is a family celebration, Angelo," Giosua said mildly, "So go on, get dressed, now.
"But they're expecting me." Angelo protested, trying to control the whine in his voice.
"Then call them and explain that you can't make it tonight." Giosua said with a little more force.
"Go. Get. Dressed. Now." his father said firmly.
Not bothering to hide his sulk, Angelo turned toward his room, stopping at the phone to call Amadeo to tell him he couldn't make it. "Dad found rocks, so we have to go out and celebrate." Angelo replied grumpily to his friend's question.
"Angelo." his father said in a low voice.
"Gotta go." Angelo sighed. "Talk to you tomorrow." He hung up the phone, gave his father one last petulant glance and hurried to his room to change when he saw his father take a step toward him.
Julia emerged from her bedroom, fastening an earring but otherwise ready to go. Joshua looked at his wife with admiration and love clearly written on his face. "You look magnificent, my love. You'll be the envy of every woman, and the desire of every man." he whispered, leaning down to run his arms around her waist. She looked up at him, ultramarine blue eyes sparkling. He kissed her tenderly and drew back again, wanting this moment, this picture to be engraved in his memory forever.
Julia blushed happily. She'd been worried about the dress. It was at least three years old although it was in good condition. A pale blue silk with darker blue, floral accents from hem to bodice. The knee length skirt was flared, the sleeves fitted and ending just above her elbows. Her shoes were nearly the same color as her eyes and had been dyed specially for her in New York.
Joshua went back into the bedroom to finish dressing and came back several minutes later in a dark blue suit, pale blue shirt, and a midnight blue tie with white polka dots. His black shoes shone with a recently applied coat of fresh polish buffed to a military shine. He carried his wife's clutch, wrap, gloves and hat.
Johnny was the first to run down the stairs with a wide smile on his face. He spread his arms and turned in a circle. "Eh, dad? Whadda ya think?" he said proudly.
Joshua looked at the shined shoes, the charcoal grey slacks which had been pressed into a razor sharp crease, the pale blue button down shirt with the grey, black and blue striped tie at his throat.
"Very gentlemanly." Joshua complimented. "Now just lose the leather jacket and you're all set."
"Awww, dad! The jacket pulls the whole look together!"
"Then unravel it. Now." he said with a no nonsense expression.
Johnny managed not to huff as he turned and went back upstairs to change his jacket.
A moment later Angelo strode into the kitchen with a grin on his face.
"I thought I told you to put on your good clothes?" Joshua asked, slightly perturbed.
"Well yeah, dad, you did, but I figured this would be a really good compromise. See, I wear my best, darkest jeans, which if you don't really look at them closely look like dress pants. Then I put on this polo cuz it has a collar, and this sweater dresses it up." he continued happily, gesturing to each item. "Then after we're done at the restaurant you drop me off at the A&W, I pull the sweater off and I'm ready to roll!"
"Go do as you were told." Joshua said simply.
Angelo opened his mouth as though he were going to continue to argue. His father cleared his throat. Angelo turned on his heel and went back to his room where his parents could hear him banging around. Julia put a gentle hand on her husband's arm when he took a step in his son's direction and gave a slight shake of her head. He smiled sheepishly at his wife who then stood on her tip toes while pulling him down toward her for a quick kiss on the cheek. She gently wiped lipstick off of his face and smiled up at him before turning to see one of her sons enter the room.
Paul entered the room wearing a smart, light grey suit complete with vest, and a little handkerchief folded neatly into the breast pocket. He wore a tie similar to his brother's but with more muted colors and thinner stripes. His shoes gleamed. His hair was parted on the left and neatly slicked back. He blushed, pleased, when his mother wolf whistled at him.
John entered the room seconds later, leather replaced with an attractive, dappled grey suit jacket.
"Much better." his father complimented.
"Now if we could just get that sulky look off of your face you'd be perfect." his mother teased, running a finger down the length of his nose and tapping his lips.
Johnny, even now at the age of twenty, was not able to explain it, but that was one thing his mother did that always cheered him, and he was grateful for it now. He smiled shyly, leaned down and gave his mother a kiss on the cheek.
"Where's Ange?" Paul asked.
Before his parents could respond, the youngest Di Marco re-entered the room in a dark blue suit that was nearly the twin of his father's. His shoes had been haphazardly shined but were passable. His tie, a blue version of his older brother's, was askew over his white dress shirt. His hair was mussed, and he carried his gym bag in his right hand.
Joshua looked at his son with a raised eyebrow but didn't say another word, causing Angelo to blush.
"Got your bat and glove in there, Satchel?" Paul quipped.
"Yes, Angelo, what is in that bag?" his father asked finally.
"J-just my grubs and treads. S-see when we're done at the restaurant you drop me off at the A&W and I..."
"You are *not* going to the A&W tonight." Joshua said with that dangerous hint of iron that would creep in when he was reaching his limit. "Put the bag down and straighten your tie."
Before things could disintegrate further, Julia approached her youngest, took the bag gently from his hand, placed it on the floor and lead him toward the bathroom. Once there she went behind the door, retrieved a hair brush which she put on the table. She tipped her son's chin up slightly so that she could adjust his tie, picked up the brush and tamed his hair. She stood back to get a good look at him, nodded in satisfaction, turned him toward his father and delivered a smack to his backside with the flat of the brush.
"There, don't we look the picture!" she said proudly as she admired her men, ignoring the sullen expression on her youngest's face.
"OK everyone. Into the car." Joshua said, jovially.
"Where are we going, dad?" asked Paul as the family trouped out of the house.
"Considering the reason for the celebration I thought we'd go to The Drover tonight."
"Wow, I heard that that's a really fancy place! I've always wanted to go there." John said animatedly.
"Yeah," added Paul as they slid into the car. "I've seen it from the outside. It looks really nice."
Angelo didn't say anything but at that point his father was happy with the silence and the fact that he wasn't able to see the sulky expression on his son's face in the twilight gloom.
Joshua turned on the radio and the rest of the drive was spent with the bulk of the family alternately singing along with the radio, or talking about what they'd like for dinner.
Angelo didn't add to the conversation but simply admired the open expanse of fields as they passed. He imagined himself jumping out of the car, rolling in the grass that looked thicker than even the thickest carpet, and just lying there, admiring the stars. Anything had to be better than sitting in a stuffy, formal restaurant 'on best behaviour or else'. He sighed and rested his chin on the palm of his hand.
They finally arrived at the restaurant and filed in, Julia with her hand on Joshua's arm, the boys trailing along behind like ducklings, oldest to youngest. Angelo once again considered making a break for it but knew that he would eventually have to go home and then there'd be all he-ck to pay.
"Oh, this is lovely," Julia breathed as they entered the restaurant. The dark wood covering the walls shone as though recently polished, and were dotted here and there with paintings in muted colors. The carpet beneath their feet was spotless and of an oriental design. The tables were all covered with clean burgundy cloths which picked up the colors of the carpet. A pillar candle surrounded by flowers at the base stood in the center of each table. The silver was carefully wrapped in clean linen napkins that complimented the table cloths and were held by rings of polished wood.
The host greeted the family at the door with a professional yet friendly smile and guided them in and toward one of the larger tables which was adorned with two candles. He handed them each a menu, and promised that their server would be there shortly to take their drink order then took his leave with a slight bow.
"Well," said Joshua, opening his menu and perusing the appetizer section. "No limits tonight, Di Marco's. You order whatever you like." he said with a smile. It wasn't often they had the opportunity to celebrate things other than birthdays or anniversaries and he was very happy to finally have found a site the big wigs in New York approved of.
"I'd *like* an A&W root beer," muttered Angelo just this side of petulantly, "But it doesn't seem to be on the menu."
Paul nudged his little brother under the table with his foot but kept his eyes on his menu.
Johnny smiled and said that for him a cup of tea would really hit the spot right now.
Joshua and Julia examined their menus and ignored their youngest.
"Pop, is steak all right?" Paul asked.
"The sky's the limit tonight." his father smiled back. "Order whatever you like but make sure you can finish it." He leaned in and whispered, "At these prices I don't want to end up feeding the seagulls out back."
Paul and Johnny laughed, then went back to studying their menus.
"Well, mia bellezza." He said, tilting his menu toward his wife and pointing at the seafood section. "They have several lobster dishes, and I know how much you like lobster. Do you see any that appeal to you?"
"Gio," she whispered, "It's so expensive! I couldn't!"
"Mia dolce, it's not like you ask for things like this all the time, or at all for that matter." he whispered back. "Allow me to treat you. Don't worry about the price. If you see something you like, then you go ahead and order it. Understood?" he asked in mock severity, gazing softly into his wife's eyes. (my sweet)
After several more minutes John and Paul put aside their menus, as did Joshua and Julia. Angelo however, continued to look at his menu with a sullen expression.
"Anything appeal to you, Angelo?" his father asked.
"Yeah, I'd like a chili dog and onion rings, please." he replied, setting aside his menu.
Johnny frowned. "There's nothing like that on the menu here. What are you talking about?"
"Well, those things would'a been on the menu if we'd gone to the A&W." he said petulantly. "And if we'd gone there we could'a worn more comfortable clothes." Angelo griped, tugging at the collar of his shirt.
Joshua took a deep, calming breath, leaned in toward his youngest son and said quietly, "If you don't stop bugging me about the A&W I'm going to take you over my knee right here in the restaurant. Do you understand me?"
Angelo blushed and looked around surreptitiously to see if any of the other diners had heard the threat. Paul grinned widely and said in a moderate but delighted tone, "Keep bugging him! Keep bugging him! For me? Keep bugging him!"
Angelo shot his brother a hostile look, and Joshua silenced him with a raised eyebrow, but that didn't keep his boy from grinning behind his hand.
Julia leaned over and whispered in her husband's ear. Angelo heard the words 'fancy restaurant' and 'can't do that'. Joshua looked unhappy but let the subject drop.
"Now, young man, tell me what you want to eat." Joshua said evenly.
Emboldened by his mother's words, Angelo took one final glance at the menu, closed it, set it aside and then said, "I'd like a Papa Burger, fries and a chocolate shake, please."
Joshua pushed back his chair, removed the linen napkin from his lap and neatly folded it. Angelo looked at his father apprehensively. Was he going to actually spank him in the middle of the restaurant despite what his mother had said? Suddenly that last little dig didn't seem as funny as it had in his head.
"Angelo, it just occurred to me that you haven't washed your hands." Joshua said conversationally as he stood up.
"Yes I did, papà. Honest." the boy replied uneasily, looking with wide eyes up at his father who suddenly seemed to have grown a couple of feet taller.
"No. No, I'm sure you haven't. Why don't you come with me now? I'll show you where the men's room is."
Angelo swallowed and licked his lips. He realized that he was sitting on extremely cold hands. He had no memory of when he'd slipped them beneath his bottom and he could feel the cold through the material of his pants. Unfortunately the warmth of his body did nothing toward dispelling the icy feeling in his hands.
"I'm good, papà. My hands are clean, honest." Angelo said meekly, peering with his dark eyes at his now ten foot tall father through the curtain of his eyelashes. He glanced at his mother, hoping that she would intervene, but she was wearing her 'You did this to yourself.' look, so he knew there was no help coming from that quarter.
Joshua leaned down, took his son by the wrist and elbow, urging him to stand. "Come with me. Now." Joshua said quietly but firmly, directly into Angelo's ear.
Angelo reluctantly stood up, once again shooting his brothers, who could barely stifle their giggles, an unfriendly look.
Joshua pinned his two older sons with a look and said, "If you two find it that amusing perhaps you'd like to be next?"
"No sir." they chorused quietly, immediately losing the grins and focusing their attentions on their water glasses.
With that Joshua put a friendly arm around his youngest son's shoulders and led him to the men's room, herding the boy ahead of him and stopping casually by the sinks. He stood Angelo in place and then quickly checked out the spaces under the stall doors. Seeing that none of them were in use, he turned toward the door and locked it, then he went to the basket which contained a stack of clean hand towels. Taking one he wiped down the surface of the marble sink, then gestured for Angelo to lean down over it.
Angelo licked dry lips with a dry tongue and tried to swallow, but his throat was as dry as the rest of his mouth. "Papà, please. I'm sorry! Really. I'll stop. I didn't mean it. I was just joking!"
Joshua advanced on his son who took a few steps backward before he fetched up against the wall. He took the boy by the arm and led him back toward the sink, gently but firmly manipulating his son into position. Once Angelo was there, he folded the boy's jacket up over his back and pulled the hem of his shirt out of his slacks.
If Angelo could have kicked himself for pushing it to this point he would have. He hated that he was about to get his bottom warmed but good in a public place. He hated the fact that he wasn't quite tall enough, so the edge of the sink pressed in under his ribs uncomfortably. He hated that in this position he had no choice but to look at himself in the huge mirror behind the sink while his father blistered his backside. But what he hated most was the surety he felt that everyone in the restaurant would be able to hear, would see him coming out of the men's room with a red face and eyes, at which point he'd have to endure looks and snickers that even his father wouldn't be able to do anything about.
Before he had a chance to worry about anything else, his father's hand came down with a sharp, resounding smack.
Angelo didn't make a sound but immediately threw his hands back to cover his backside.
Angelo quickly moved his hands, clasping them and resting his forehead against the resultant fist.
The second smack came down louder and if possible, harder than the last.
The boy took a deep breath, trying to relax his body because he knew that tensing up would only make it hurt more, but before he could release it on his own it was forced out of him by a third, stinging whack.
Joshua had delivered six of those stinging, burning smacks, and Angelo was on the verge of tears when a knock sounded at the door. Joshua stopped, picked up another towel and soaked it in cold water before wringing out the worst of it. He handed it to his son. "Straighten your clothes out, wipe your face. I'll wait for you." he said quietly, gesturing toward one of the stalls.
Angelo scurried into the stall and Joshua unlocked the door, apologizing to the waiting man for the inconvenience.
Angelo unbuttoned his slacks and tucked his shirt in neatly, taking care with the tail. He buttoned up, laid the cool cloth on his face and turning it to the cooler side twice while waiting for the man who had knocked to finish up, wash his hands and leave before coming out of his stall. His father looked at him appraisingly, took the towel and refreshed it. Angelo took the towel and laid it gently on his face again. After a few moments his father took the cloth and pressed it gently against his son's cheeks and neck.
"Meglio ora?" Joshua asked kindly, his expression soft.
"Si." Angelo replied humbly, gaze trained on the dark marble floor.
Joshua pulled his son into a warm hug and kissed the top of his head. "All right then. If you can behave for the rest of the night we can have a nice dinner. What do you say?"
"Yes sir. I'm sorry dad, really." Angelo said, penitently.
"I hear they have Chocolate Mousse for dessert here." Joshua said casually, washing his hands and pretending to inspect himself in the mirror. He did his best not to laugh when he saw his youngest son's eyes light up. The boy loved chocolate. Julia often joked that if there were even one piece of chocolate in the house, Angelo would be drawn right to it.
"With whipped topping?" the boy asked hopefully.
"Well it would be positively sinful if they didn't!" Joshua said in mock outrage. "We'll just have to demand whipped topping, won't we?"
Angelo grinned at his father and they exchanged a quick hug before they rejoined the rest of the family.
Reference to Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige
Baseball Hall of Fame
Born: July 7, 1906, Mobile
Died: June 8, 1982, Kansas City
Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige (July 7, 1906 – June 8, 1982) was an American baseball player whose pitching in the Negro leagues and in Major League Baseball (MLB) made him a legend in his own lifetime. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, the first player to be inducted based upon his play in the Negro leagues.
Paige was a right-handed pitcher and was the oldest rookie to play in the MLB at the age of 42. He played with the St. Louis Browns until age 47, and represented them in the All-Star Game in 1952 and 1953. He first played for the semi-professional Mobile Tigers from 1924 to 1926.
Paige began his professional career in 1926 with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts of the Negro Southern League, and played his last professional game on June 21, 1966, for the Peninsula Grays of the Carolina League.
Information by Wikipedia
The Drover, to the best of my knowledge, is a fictitious place.
Section marked with ** was inspired by an episode of
The Big Bang Theory, Season 5 Episode 6, The Rhinusitis Revelation
No Copyright Infringement is intended!