One of my neighbors is a college professor. I don't know what he teaches, but I tell everyone that it's Rockabilly Ethos. For his final, you have to go to a Brian Setzer concert and learn how to roll a pack of Camels in the sleeve of your plain white t-shirt. For extra credit, you can tattoo a teardrop at the corner of your eye. On Saturdays, he throws a deep cuff in his blue jeans and whacks away at his yard with a scythe. Sometimes, he wears a shirt. I always take that as a sign of a good weekend. I just saw him drive past his own house to look at the collection of motley plants growing accidentally and very much on purpose in his front yard. Intentionally careless, he sweeps his pompadour back into place before he kisses his wife hello. She, incidentally, looks like a cast member from Thirtysomething. The best thing about this neighbor is his English Bulldog. His daughter named it Pickles. He would have named it Daddy-O, I bet.
My father says it was great to be a teenager in the 50's. To me, it sounds like a lot of fighting down by the San Antonio River, finishing concrete, cursing in Spanish and peeing off bridges. He says he went to a bar with a Mexican man he worked with called Blacky Salazar when he was about thirteen. The bartender gave him a Lone Star and he drank it. I guess they both figured that after a man's day at work, he deserved a man's beer. He says that about halfway through that beer, the doors opened and a couple of Texas Rangers strutted in. (Now, I assume they strutted, because that's what Texas Men do. They strut. Think George W. Bush with a few extra pounds and a heap more sense.) Up went that beer, he recalls, and in it's place down went a Big Red. After a few minutes they decided the bandito they were looking for had crept down towards Laredo and back over the border and they left. Up went the Big Red and back down went the beer. I like that story. I asked my dad if people actually called each other "Daddy-O" back then. "Only if they wanted their asses kicked," he said. Three cheers for Dad and three cheers for the asses he kicked down by the San Antonio River back in '55.