Many years ago my next door neighbor, Ed Cieslak (God rest his soul), was a truck driver but he had a heart attack. The company he worked for loved him and would not let him go. They made Ed their Dispatcher, a position he tolerated but everyone knew he wanted to drive.
Ed had a new silver-gray Ford Granada which was a far cry from a truck. He had an extra leaf installed on each side, "to improve the ride" as he said. The car never hauled anything heavier than a fishing pole and his wife. I could tell you stories and keep you riveted all day. He also taught me a lot even after I thought I had life figured out.
Eddie taught me to use my outside mirrors when backing up and since that day I never turn around in the driver's seat to look back.
Eddie was a WWII veteran who fought in the US Army in Alaska as one of "Buckner's B@$tards", as they were called.
His wife (nee, Josephina Alonzie) was as Italian as Eddie was Polish and neither family ever understood the other although they loved each other and strictly attended Catholic Church together.
When Eddie retired, Josephina had a 'honey do' list ready and waiting for him every morning. She had him planting and weeding behind the garage in addition to countless other jobs. Eddie was in the Army but after working hard for a few good hours and about half way down the list, he swore like a sailor, telling her how 'basic training' tried killing him, the Japanese tried killing him, his heart tried killing him, and now SHE's trying to kill him. Then he'd jump in his Granada and head for the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), where he was a Life Member. Ed would have one (and only one) then head back home.
She had him on a short leash but he never strayed far. Ed had a toilet installed in his basement for when he came in dirty from weeding. When the bathroom door was closed, Vanna White was staring at you from a three foot poster. Sometimes Eddie would light up a cigarette, take a few drags then he'd top it and come out. Josephina never said a word because otherwise, he didn't smoke.
Early every Friday morning, Eddie and his VFW buddy went fishing in the Detroit River. Scores of people fish the banks of the Detroit River. This one day, Eddie caught a huge cat fish. Just as he was about to throw this 'ugly bottom feeder' back in, one of the black fishermen stopped him and said, "Hey man, I'll take that fish."
Eddie says, "If I gave you this fish what would you do with it?" Now, all of a sudden Eddie finds great value in a fish he never considered edible for the past 70 years. In the mean time, the black fisherman told him full instructions on how to nail it to a tree, skin it using pliers and how to grill it on a bed of onions on the barbeque. So, Eddie brings it home.
I'm in my back yard looking over the fence to witness Ed, trying to club this big ugly catfish as he's cussin' up a storm, telling it to 'quit floppin' around and hold still' but in much stronger language. Then he nails it to the tree and says to me, "Dave, have you ever eaten catfish?" I said, "No." Then he tells me his fish story as he's skinning it and he chuckles and says, "Sometimes you just gotta make believe." I will never forget those words.
That fish fed Eddie & I AND our wives with the best tasting fish we ever had.
So if you're inclined to add a couple leafs in your stack of springs, <snicker>, sometimes you just gotta make believe and go for it. - Dave