Rock Accountant

Tag: Pittsburgh

Serves Him Right, Pittsburgh Style

Three years later, I threw Jimmy down a hill.
My father, in his chair behind the newspaper, heard me say, “I broke his leg. He is in the hospital.”
Without lowering his paper, he said, ” Serves him right.”
Every boy is chiefly the result of his father. Mothers are there to erase what parts of this they believe they should or can.
I was always ashamed of being the biggest. At seventy-two now, I continue to avoid mirrors.
Jimmy, my next-door neighbor and three years older, would push me down and hold me in the mud or dirt until I cried. He was smaller than me, so I was his prize. He would take my hat and keep it until later, tossing it onto our adjacent patio where my dad would find it.
Dad and I grew a dangerous quiet. Both of us were ashamed.

One afternoon, while I was sobbing, my father dragged me to our neighbor’s door and screamed that I was ready to fight him. Jimmy did not come out.
There was no more hat stealing after that.
I grew, but Jimmy did not.
Years later, while briefly home for my father’s funeral, I ran into Jimmy on the same patio., We sat and talked about small things. We were now grown, men.
He turned out OK. Shaking hands, and as I turned away, I knocked his hat off his head.

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Not Working in Pittsburgh

I never saw my father work. He processed checks all night, by hand, at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh. Occasionally he would impress me by bringing home canceled checks from someone else’s account to show me the big number on it.
My mother was a manicurist in a hotel. She worked all day. At night she would do my nails. It is why my wife works, and I do not.

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The Horrors of Pittsburgh Root Beer

Most twenty-year-olds know nothing about Root Beer. To some of us, this is sad, but we are old and soon will die.
My family was pretty poor, but because my parents went through the Depression, they thought they were rich just wisely cheap.
I wanted for only two things growing up. Soda pop and to see up girls dresses. These were both tough to come by.
My dad would not spring for the two-cent per gallon luxury of fizzy cola, and because I was a Methodist, staring into the darkest territory of a woman was rewarded with going blind.
During the Prohibition years, I am fairly certain my grandfather honed his brewing skill on White Lighting, bequeathing my dad a knowledge of making carbonated root beer.
He never shared his formula and, like with much of his affection, carried it into his grave.
It was a dark science of yeast, root beer extract, huge metal garbage cans, fire, and turn-of-the-century quart bottles.
He would let it ferment in the basement and would not buy any soda until it was gone.
The explosive corks would humiliate any champagne. More than one of our dogs had only one eye and would not enter our cellar out of fear.

My mother and I would pour it, behind his back, into our lawn at night. Like dog’s pee it killed everything it came in contact with.

Beer Bottles Flip Top - 500 mL Amber (Case of 12)
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