Wildwood Daze – 1980 – I’ve Had It With This Town

I love the summer. I’ve been dropped here against my will by some other person. My father. I have no control over my life. I have to go to school at a new school as a stranger. I know you have a problem with my dissatisfaction and depression.

I excel in school and start a band. I thrive in this shit hole you’ve dropped me off with no concept of how that will break your son’s spirit.

Janice is off in college so you’re good. If anything is of kilter your going to lose your shit and that is me.

What did you think was going to happen?

Let’s rip the 17-year-old son from all of his friends and his band from Philly and drop him off in Wildwood, New Jersey. A retirement and resort town the you already know is a deathtrap for young people.

You dropped out of high school to get away from this hell hole. You joined the army rather than turn to crime at 17. You fucking asshole that I love.

I get it. I worked in banking just like you for 30 years. You were making a bunch of bad loans at the Provident in Philly and got out when the getting was good.

You retreated to NJ. your little safe haven to escape, but you never thought of what that would do to the children in your life.

The little ones were fine. April and Gabby didnt;t know any better. But I was a senior in high school. I never got to graduate with my friends at Frankford in Philly. I had a band. You destroyed that for your little escape plan.

But what was that. You replicated your life in NJ as the regional manager at First Fidelity Bank. You’re a great manager and a great man. But you really have a taste for some of your employees, man.

I remember telling you about a girl I met once how I was in a relationship and I told you about how I had feelings for her.

You said, “Why don’t you just move on her”

I said: “Because that would be wrong. I’d be cheating on my girlfriend and that would betray her trust in me.”

You were pleased and happy with my answer.

I knew it.. because you could never be that. I could see it in your eyes you were relived that I wasn’t like you in that respect.

That respect.

Bitch, please.

If you’re unhappy in your liffe, divorce mom and just send the check and leave us the fuck alone. Then you can bag Jennifer Sweeten or as you call her “sweet meat” all you want until her husband finds out.

You’ll figure it out.

 

You and your brother Jack were dropped off here after your parents divorced. Nobody got divorced back then.

Why the hell would you think it was a good idea to drop me off in this shit hole?

Wildwood is a glistening sand castle of magical fun and romance in the summer… and then it turns into a bleak shroud of dark depression where there is nothing going on in the winter. It is a desolate hole of isolation that is impossible for a teenager to escape.

Here I am. I know you and there is a part of you that is me. Some great. Some awful. But you have the chore of raising the shitty you and now the shitty son you don’t understand who is too much like your brother Jack.

So if there were any questions as to why Chaz wanted to load up the ’69 Volkswagen minibus and drive across the country to go live in sunny California let’s put all of that to rest right now.

I love you, you selfish, self-serving prick.

I really do.

Thank you for teaching me to read. Thank you for all of the books. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for teaching me to ride a bike. Thank you for teaching me how to catch a fish. Thank you for teaching me to drive a car. Thank you for teaching me about wine, art, and literature and film. Thank you for teaching me about women. (To an extent) Thank you for everything.

I’m not going to mention all of the bad stuff here.

All ready did some of that.

 

Time to load of the 69 VW minibus and head to California.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

My Father – 1929 to 2016 – Diamonds and Rust – Part 2

Still proud to have known you for the short time that I did.
Proud to have been a step up on your way.
Proud to be a part of your illustrious career…
and I know you did it all,
in spite of me.
In spite of me.

I have my father’s words. His laughter. His lessons. His charm for sure. He taught me so much. But that’s what my father was. He realized he had nothing. No natural ability that his brother Jack had and he made a decision. He was going to read. He was going to learn all that he could about the world.

He once told me. “Son, I just got to a point where I realized I didn’t know much. I don’t know much about anything. So I started to read.”

He also said that the best things in his life were my mom, us kids and his books.

I really believe that, because I was once sitting on the floor playing the lead from “I Want You’ from the Beatles, Abbey Road on my guitar and he walked in and said, “That’s really good, son. I can only listen to music… you can make music.”

Greatest compliment ever.

That’s the same thing as him saying to my mother, “I love you Helen Barr with all of my heart because I can never truly love you, or be you, and I would love nothing more that to be like you.”

My dad was a simple guy that grew up in the depression and struggled with himself and life itself. He was bullied as a kid as was I but I never understood why he would knock  me around with his words and his hands.

Maybe life’s burdens were an incredible weight that he couldn’t bear, and that it relieved him to hit me to make the pain and frustrations stop in himself.

I can’t imagine anyone ever doing that to a child but our parents are from a different era than where we are now as a parents.

I’m okay with that. I love my Dad, and he didn’t know any better. I accept him and forgive him for all of his failures as he has forgiven my failures which are many.

I know I have disappointed him, in so many ways. But I appreciate his forgiveness. But sadly as he lies cold in a grave in Cold Springs. NJ, the very thing he wanted me to become he snuffed out with his on actions a long time ago.

I’ve spent the last 40 years of my life crawling from the wreckage of his behavior to finally stand in the sun and not feel like a worthless loser. I remember feeling at 12 years old him reflecting his on fear and failure upon me.

I never understood why he did this until I really got to know who he was.

Why would a kid that suffered so much as a kid and was bullied and had to be the stand up guy in the family and the unloved do this to his son?

He couldn’t help it. I really think that when he screamed at me, and beat me he was simply beating himself.

I get it.

You hate your life, You’re not living the life you want and you’re now married to a lovely woman who kind of isn’t the hot babies your accustomed to and she is actually a puritan lady. You made the republican decision to capture some kind of credibility and get some sort of family thing going on because yours is shit. Her brothers are cool awesome dudes.

I get it. I did something similar when I got married.

You did so much better than I did in that area, you brought Janice, April, and Gabrielle into the world. Well done, Sir.

But I think, once you did it you saw that maybe that’s not what you wanted…

Back to the beatings….

I have never raised my voice or my hand to my daughter Lorelei because It’s wrong and unnecessary. But instead of repeating the sins of the father I have learned from my upbringing all of the great things they taught us. There are many! But I have discarded the violent wasteful acts of the previous generation.

Thanks mom and dad. It didn’t hurt so much, and I know you did the best you could from your medieval beginnings but you made better people!

We’re all okay and miss you both very much. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of you both.

I feel the words flow through my fingers as I write this. I just had to sit down and get it out.

 

“For a long time I thought you’d be coming back to me… Those kind of thoughts can be so cruel…”

 

I’ll finish this tomorrow…

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly             Facebook: phicklephilly

My Father – 1929 to 2016 – Diamonds and Rust – Part 1

Well I’ll be damned
Here comes your ghost again.
But that’s not unusual.
It’s just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I’d known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall.

Note: I wrote this a year ago when I was still feeling salty about a lot of things. I’m fine. I’ve forgiven everyone and life is better than it’s ever been here in Philly. There may be moments in this tome that seem angry or bitter. I am not either of these things. I’m just telling a story about a man who struggled with himself and my relationship with him.

I have done dozens of edits on this peice and even thought about cancelling the series the night before it was published. But I have to go with my gut and just tell the story.

One day I’ll be gone too. But this will blog will live on the internet forever.

And I know no forever.

Everything in you life is finite.

The only thing that feels like forever is the Universe.

“The universe is everything that ever was, is, or ever will be with no limit to time and space.”

The rest of everything and what we are is simply dust in the wind.

 

The holidays are rapidly approaching Dad and you’ve been gone for a couple of years. I was looking at some family photos recently, and I saw one in particular. It was your wedding photo with mom. A couple starting their life together full of promise and hope.

I was listening to the rock opera, Tommy by the Who. A brilliant rock opera you turned me on to in the basement of our original home in Northeast Philly.  I listen to all kinds of different music all of the time, but something happened during this combination of words and music.

I looked hard at the photo and the first thing that struck me was what a beautiful bride my mother was. The next thing was how much my sister Janice’s son looks like you. Thankfully he has more hair and a sweeter disposition, but the eyes and smile are there.

Janice has always been more like you than the rest of us. I love her very much and she’s definitely not you but most like you of any of the kids in this family. I’m definitely A Barr from mom’s side of the family. (Barr is my Mom’s maiden name.) Her brothers were charming, musical guys that kept their hair, youth and liked to drink and hang out with the ladies. My daughter Lorelei agrees that we are both Barrs.

April, our middle sister is probably a combo of my grandmother on mom’s side and your Aunt Margaret. Fiery, with a take no prisoners personality. The most beautiful of all of the children. Baby sister Gabrielle is firmly ensconced in Mom’s family as well. I hear my mother in her words and mannerisms. Gab is the closest relic we have left of our mother.

Dad, you and I had a challenging relationship. But it mirrored yours with mom in a way. We were both sort of at your mercy most of the time. Mom and I were family and you were the king that ruled over us. A fickle king that didn’t really know who he wanted to be. But always stepped up and did what he had to provide for us, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

You’re mother although a sweet woman married safe. Grandpop worked hard and knew how to make money and provide for his family. But he didn’t like being a father. He had no idea. You told me you looked upon like him like he was Superman. But he was just a man who worked hard, and liked to hang with is buddies at the bar. You wanted more, but got nothing in return. He’d tussle your hair and call you Pete. What the fuck is that? Your name is Horace.

(English and French form of HORATIUS, and the name by which the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus is commonly known those languages. In the modern era it has been used as a given name since the Renaissance, in honour of the poet.)

That’s a very old name, and it was his name and he made you Horace jr. because you were their first-born. Like my sister Janice, you unfortunately are the children that have to go through life with a sickle, where the rest of the siblings follow giggling and laughing. But you both have always carried a burden.

You were first, adored your father but struggled. Your younger brother Jackie was smarter, cuter and could do no wrong. I loved your brother very much. He has always felt like the dad I should have had. I would have flourished better in that family. Just leave me alone and let me do my art and music.

But you always had the cross to bear. I’m sorry that happened to you, Dad. That’s no life for a kid.

I love you, Dad.

I will love you until the black wings of death scatter my days and we will both be equal.

Your parents split up and got divorced when people didn’t do that. You were in Wildwood with your mother and little brother Jack, and my Grandmother sent you on a mission.

You were fourteen years old.

Your mother sent you to Philadelphia on the train to tell your dad that you all wouldn’t be returning to Philadelphia at the end of the summer. A cowardice act but understandable at the time.

On a side note. The building she sent you to where your dad worked was at 5th and Chestnut. The Hotel Monaco stands there now and they couldn’t alter the building in any way because of its historical value. I have partied my ass of at the rooftop bar now called Stratus in the Dusk and Vapor rooms!

When I was at my lowest at age 14 I remember your mother saying, “He’s going to be great. Someday, he’ll make you so proud. ” Grammie knew. Grammie saw the inner fragility and strength in me. I loved her. Everyone had turned their backs on me in 1976 but Grammie was the only one that vocally held out hope for me. At the time I didn’t even know what was going to happen to me.

I remember years later my own mother said “I didn’t love you back then.” (Puberty)

Think of how devastating those words were to a child.

I forgive you mother. I was a fuck up and brought nothing to the table. I understand why you said that, and it’s okay.

Dad you took the train to Philly and went to the building at 5th and chestnut. That’s were your dad worked for an insurance company. He was great at his job, because he knew that all clients were equal regardless of their race. I remember when you told me that, and even though grandpop was a shit dad he did teach you some great core values.

He said to you to never say anything bad about black people, because they had the same needs and wants that we wanted and should be treated with respect. He may have liked to party at the bar with his crew, but I like this guy despite his shortcomings as a father. He taught you some important lessons, so that’s something.

My grandfather’s values still stand proud with me today through you.

Not you. Him. Shitty Dad, but honorable Grandfather values.

Dad… You’re just a collection of things you’ve been told. It’s okay. I understand.

Jack is the one with the original thoughts.

You still did good.

You go there, nervous and scared. You’re a kid. You go up to is office.

“Hey Pete.”

“Hey dad. Listen, we’re going to stay at the shore. Me and mom and Jack aren’t coming back to Philly.”

I can’t imagine the fear you must have been feeling in that cold, lonely moment.

“Ha! You’ll be back!”

And that was it.

My frightened father had to tell the man he worshiped and had failed him that he and his wife were separated.

How fucked up is that?

What does that do to a boy’s mind?

His brother Jackie is the cute one. He’s the star. Jack is as smart as a whip. My uncle Jack was the first graduating class of Margaret Mace in Wildwood NJ and he was Valedictorian. He never cracked a book. Jack was brilliant, funny and charming and built for business.

Very successful, married twice, plenty of kids, not around much, busy with work, but an amazing guy. All of his kids for the most part are wonderful and I’m happy to have them in my life to this day.

I can’t wait to see my cousins at my sister Janice’s annual holiday party this year. I love looking into the eyes of my cousin and seeing Jack’s eyes.

His light still flickering in his first daughter’s eyes.

 

The winter was rough for my grandmom, dad and Jack. I’ve heard tales of them waking up in their beds and condensation coming from their mouths it was so cold.  These are old seashore houses with no heat. My father forced to go to shitty resort town schools. (Wildwood High School) Funny how this would repeat itself with me many years later. (Sins of the father)

Why would you put me through this dad?

When he was a kid, my dad would go to get his toothbrush in the morning and it would be frozen in the cup in the bathroom.

All they had for heat was a little wood burning stove in the corner of the common space.

One day a neighbor called on my grandmom and said that someone had been dismantling and stealing his fence at night. His wooden fence was literally disappearing.

It was later learned that my uncle Jack would go out at night and take pieces of the neighbor’s fence and burn it in their stove to stay warm.

I love my Uncle Jack.

My father dropped out of high school and fell in with the wrong crowd. At one point they got their hands on a gun and were going to mug some guy to get money. He was rudderless in his teen yearsand losing his shit.

I felt this same darkness living in Wildwood in the winter of 1980, so I get it. No crime, but what a nightmare to live in a thriving resort town in the winter. There is NOTHING to do. It’s a ghost town.

It was awful. I felt cursed to be dropped there.

I lost all of my Philly friends, my band and everybody I knew. It was all about my dad escaping Philly and making sure that Janice went to Franklin and Marshall. After that his wife and kids would have to start over in a fucking ghost town.

 

My father ran away from home at age 17 and joined the army in 1946.

He said that it’s what made him into a man and brought order to his life. So basically it saved his life.

He had a great time in the army and learned much. Traveled the south and met many wonderful people. He fell in love with a beautiful girl named Naomi, but she eventually threw him over for another man.

Just young love doing what it does…

He comes back to Philly and goes to Temple University to get his GED. He meets a cute secretary who works there and starts dating her, and the rest is history. She became my mother.

 

Were they a good match? I’m going to go ahead and say no. But they made it work with what they had and knew and isn’t that what every fool does? I certainly have!

My mother always said, “Marriage is a dice roll. You just have to hope it comes up that you win most of the time.”

For the most part, I have a really normal family. That stability and core values, love and discipline worked and made some good people.

All of my sisters have turned out well.

What does that tell you?

It tells you that DAD was a good dad. If the girls turn out well he was a good dad. They are all wonderful women and I’m proud to be related to them.

It all worked out.

 

I’ll continue this tomorrow…

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly             Facebook: phicklephilly

My Family – The Phoenix – Part 2

The only person that could keep him here with us was him and he’d already purchased a ticket on the last train to nowhere.

My sister Janice called me and told me that dad was in really bad shape and that this could be the end. I called my friend Rob and asked if I could use his truck to go visit my dad at the hospital.  He was fine with it. I was going to run down there on Tuesday to see what was up.

 

I was at work when I got the call from my middle sister that Monday.

“Hey Chaz. It’s April. Dad died.”

I was carrying some proposals and some client files and they fell from my hands to the floor.

I stepped into my editor’s office and of course my horrible sales manager was in there bugging the shit our of her for some inane reason.

I told them what had happened and they said: “Go home”

I knew that wasn’t option for me. I knew my sisters had everything well under control. There was nothing I could do now. I knew for months this call was coming. He had checked out a long time ago, and there was no coming back to us or anyone else.

I worked out the day, and kept in touch with my sisters. I had to keep working and I had to tell my daughter Lorelei.

I couldn’t stay home and do nothing. There was nothing to do.

I spoke with my daughter about it and she was a little sad but she just knew her grandparents as really old people that she saw once a year at the holidays like I did growing up.

My sisters took care of everything. They were in Jersey and were close to it. I knew this day was coming. It wasn’t a matter of if… but when.

On the phone with dad in his final days I would get him talking about something fun and would tell him I knew his life was still in there. That he wasn’t finished.

But he was. The only person that could keep him here with us was him and he’d already purchased a ticket on the last train to nowhere.

Janice planned the funeral and picked the day they would put my parents into the ground. My mom could finally get off the dining room table and into the Earth.

I was at the office the Sunday night I was to drive down to Cold Springs, Cape May where they were to be buried next to my grandmother and grandfather.

At that moment I remember my father once saying he wished he would fall off the jetty down at 2nd street where he used to go fishing.

“I fall in and the fish have at me to get back at me for eating so many of them.”

It made me think back to when he taught me how to catch a fish. Fond memories from a dark time in my young life.

I was there working on a proposal when I got a text from my bank. Apparently someone had gotten a hold of my debit card information and had withdrawn $800 from my account over the weekend.

Talk about insult to injury. I called my bank and cancelled the card. I then packed up and went to my friend Robert and Laura’s house up in Fairmount. They weren’t home so I was standing outside for a while. They finally came home and I told them everything. Rob handed me the keys to his truck and they paid their respects. I took the truck and put it in a parking garage near my house.

The next morning I dressed in black and went straight to my bank the moment they opened.

I told the girl at the desk what had happened and that I had to bury my parents and didn’t have time to dawdle and she produced the proper affidavits and I signed them. She was so amazing.

I later wrote a letter to her manager praising her outstanding performance.

It was a tough drive to the shore. Because whenever you go to the shore it’s always happy.

It was February, but surprisingly it was a warm and mild day. Almost eerily warm.

I pull up and park.

There are many people gathered by the gravesite. I approach and there is the sad outpouring of grief and quiet sadness of loss.

The missing.

I see my co-worker Rocco came and it relieves me to see someone from the office there. I think he just wanted the day off but I’m grateful he came.

My friend Jim who I used to be in a band with that I’ve known since he was 14 was there.

Everybody was there.

I walk up to the site and join my sisters.

The sun is shining on a very dark and dismal day to dissipate our sadness.

I remember telling my ex-girlfriend Michelle many years before that I wanted to speak at my parent’s funerals. It was what I could bring to the family with my words. That’s really all I had left.

The priest begins and does his thing. I scan the crowd. I’m in bad shape. I feel unsteady so just like at my wedding I remember to put one foot forward to steady myself.

This is a bad day.

As I write this I’m listening to the band Steppenwolf for comfort. They were the first band I ever really fell in love with. My mom disapproved but later liked them when I got into a wilder band called Aerosmith. But that’s a different post. (A way happier one!)

I remember my mom always like Scottish bagpipes. I never understood that but her people were Scotch Irish and maybe that music was in her blood. She comes from a musical family and I believe that runs through me and Lorelei to this day.

The bagpipes were sad and beautiful as they played in the background.

Perfect.

Because my father served in the military they did the whole folding of the flag thing. That was very moving and respectful. I like how they handed the flag to Janice and not me, his only son. But what have I really been to him, Not much really. A disappointment for the most part.

But all is forgiven.

I know my sister Janice was worried about me saying that I would make a speech at our parents funeral because I wouldn’t follow through. I get it. Track record. I once was supposed to transfer all of the home movies from VHS onto DVD and never did it. My baby sister ended up doing it.

Another fail on my part about nonsense.

I’m sorry. I was busy surviving in Jersey City trying to hold it together in New York at the time. But I do love that there was fear that I would come up empty-handed in the final reel.

Janice read and it was good.

Really good. I’m sure there was so much else she felt and had been through with this that it was hard for her to express what she really felt, and you know what? Whatever that was, it’s probably not for this audience or this venue.

I was surprised when my middle sister April read. It was good to hear her words and interesting to see it from her perspective and what her experience was through all of this. I don’t think my baby sister read, because she was in bed for most of our family memories. (Kidding! Gabrielle you get the joke!)

It was my turn now. I looked at all of the friends and family that had gathered upon this sad but inevitable occasion.

I looked at the table before me. On it was the little wooden box with the pretty bird on it. That was mom in there.

Next to that was a Lionel toy train standard gauge train station. I remember my father telling me he wanted to be cremated and his ashes placed into that toy train station.

After he had passed, Janice was taking the station down from one of the train cabinets and found a note under it.

It said “Gang, It’s been a great ride, but it’s time for me to pull into the station for my final stop.” Dad

He loved his trains. Now it was time for him to rest at the station and be done with the life he had created for all of us kids.

The Priest turned to me.

“Would you like to say something, Charles?”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish everyday  at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly                                  Facebook: phicklephilly

Annabelle – Chapter 4 – My “A” Game Lunch

I wasn’t sure, but I sure felt the euphoria of Annabelle. It had nothing to do with her, but at that point, neither of us knew that.

I had sent an email to Annabelle sometime after our “First Date”  thanking her for a wonderful time. I also asked her if she’d like to meet me for lunch at Jones (Stephen Starr restaurant at 8th and Chestnut) I knew the General Manager and knew I would get the exclusive hook up.

She got back to me and said yes!

I made a reservation, and got there early. My table was clear and I took a seat. the staff knew what to do. I waited. Annabelle arrived and I waved her over. She she had a t-shirt on and was wearing a pair of denim cutoffs that showed off her long slender legs. I hadn’t seen them before, but at nearly six feet tall, she had incredible pins.

She said she had just come from the pool where she had been swimming. I didn’t care. I was just happy that she had shown up. She had this scrubbed, day at the beach air about her. I liked it.

Within minutes a bowl of their signature mac and cheese, (which is glorious at Jones) arrived with a side of siracha. Annabelle was impressed. She wasn’t accustomed to going to restaurants with older men that made things happen. I could tell this. She was a simple girl who was surrounded by artsy people who had nothing.

We dug into the mac and cheese with great fury. Baby was hungry and liked to eat. We chatted, and I was happy to see this beauty again. I did my nervous talking thing I do with all new women in my life. But she was laughing a lot and I knew it was working. I was still friends with Michelle, but she was moving on with Delaware Dave, and I was feeling the power with this one. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day)

I gave her a dvd of “The Art of the Steal” the documentary about the Barnes museum that we went to on our first date. I also brought her two miniatures of Chivas Regal’s Maple Whiskey, or as I call it, Hangover Nightmare Juice. At some point on our first date she mentioned that she liked maple syrup. Annabelle was delighted. How crazy will it be when I go to her apartment and find that she has no DVD player or a TV???

Sadly, I was still in love with the idea of love and didn’t know what I was getting myself into. If someone had pulled me aside and told me that this whole thing was a mistake that would have been great. But I know I would have done it anyway. I missed the drug of love I once had with Michelle and wanted it again. Annabelle was twenty-six and I wanted her. I didn’t even care so much about her age, I just needed to feed the addict.

That was me back then. I suppose that was me always. The failure that could always close beautiful young women. I wanted Annabelle to feed my addiction to love. I was the guy who couldn’t have a healthy mutual relationship with a woman. I had already gone down in a ball of flames years ago. A failed marriage, and a string of bad relationships. Nearly more than I could count. The last few had failed because they were younger than me and wanted marriage and kids. I had already destroyed that and had a kid to prove it. A hundred thousand dollars blown on child support and a broken family. Nothing worked. I wasn’t cut out to be in a relationship, let alone a marriage.

I think maybe I should just be alone. I love women. Desperately. But what if for some reason I am only in love with the idea of love and I am unable to actually be in love. I want Annabelle. She’s receptive, and artist, blonde, long legs…

I’m a fool. I am only chasing and courting her because she is young and beautiful. Just like Michelle. That unattainable gazelle that is just out of reach. I must have her. But do I really know her? Is it a match? She works in the arts. They’re a bunch of weirdo losers in the “arts”. We have nothing in common. Just this common connection. A girl I met in a bar that is kind of finding her way in life.

But I’m happy in this moment. I love the sound of her warm voice.

The lunch goes well. It’s the 17th of July. My father’s birthday. He’s 83 today. I picked this day because 17 is a common number in my family. It keeps turning up. That’s why this second date is happening. Annabelle is along for the ride. I’ll call my father tonight and tell him all about it. He’ll listen intently and live through me for once. But not really. He’s had his life. It has been so much more colorful than mine. Just like when I’m talking to him and telling a story. He’s not listening. I know he’s just waiting for me to shut up so he can talk.

He’ll ask her name, and I’ll tell him. He’ll access her heritage and maybe approve. If she sounds western European she’s good.

I remember when I was out in L.A. and working as a musician. My girlfriend at the end was a nineteen year old black girl. I remembered when we finally packed it in and came home. I loved and trusted my dad, because he was awesome. I told him about the black girl and what had happened. I’ll never forget what he said, ” Are you into blacks now?”

I should date and fall in love with a beautiful black girl just to smite that motherfucker. Yea, I can call my dad a motherfucker, because he fucked my mom and made me.

But I digress…

The lunch goes really well. She was excited about the pair of miniatures of Chivas Regal Maple.(The shit tastes terrible)  I also told her I would have asked her out to a second date sooner, but I was waiting for the Art of the Steal DVD to be delivered in the mail!

I have to go meet with the nice people at Chris’ Jazz Bar and she has to go to a photo shoot.

We go outside, and her bike is locked to a pole out front. A bicycle. A simple girl. She’s young and beautiful. Oh, those legs.

I’m in love with the idea of love.

What’s wrong with me?

I tell her I have to go and we hug. I remember very specifically, I went in for the hug…and went for the kiss on the cheek back by the ear. I think we all want to kiss on the lips. But you must sometimes settle for the cheek. It’s just the stupid rules of dating. Especially in the beginning.

She tells me her birthday is coming up soon.

The baby seal is hot. She’s been sitting on the rocks with her mom. She decides to jump into the sea to cool off. The water is crisp, and frothy.

Twenty five yards away, a dark grey dorsal fin cuts through the  water, sensing the life. Feeling the drug of the next love affair. Ready to feed.

I tell her I have some good ideas for her birthday, and she agrees. (I’m so going to make this happen)

I kiss her cheek and say that she’s great.

I walk west on Sansom. I text her that it was amazing seeing her and want to see her again.

When I get to Chris’ Jazz Cafe, I’m waiting for the general manager, and I get a text.

It’s Annabelle. She agrees, and gives me the XO

When I saw the XO I knew it was on. I kissed her on the cheek. That’s still the friend zone. But you can cross over. If a girl throws you an XO in an early text, you’re in boys.

I wasn’t sure, but I sure felt the euphoria of Annabelle. It had nothing to do with her, but at that point, neither of us knew that.

She wanted her dad, and I just wanted to be loved by pretty girls when I was thirteen. So here we are, and we’ll have to see what happens.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9am EST.

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly