Saturday, December 21, 2013

Proud Papa


Wally (my pumpkin carving friend) has been entertaining us with his son Andrew's acting exploits. The photo above shows Wally's son in the center, hands in pockets, looking dapper and very much like a part of the scene. Randy Dannenfelser (Harry the Quilting Cat's owner) has his own story of a proud dad, which he writes here:

Hi Wally,

Many thanks for the Andrew acting career updates. Your way of telling each story holds my attention in a way similar to Jean Shepherd, which is to say that you place me in the middle of Andrew's doings and I love it!

Your proud poppa pride reminds me of my barber -- no, hair stylist -- back in the early to mid 80's. Forgive me if I've told you this one before, but I'm sure Paul has heard it several times, and maybe a couple of spammers have endured it once or twice already, too.

Back then, I worked in a small town in North Central NJ called Fords. As I remember, it was bordered by Woodbridge, Edison, Metuchen and Menlo Park, with Woodbridge somehow on the north and south. My commute was an hour and a half each way from Stillwater, but in the Reagan years, you took work where you could find it with the fear hanging over your head that if you lost your job, you may never find another one again. Back in those days, I was also what was known in music as a "weekend warrior" -- someone with a full-time day job who played the bars on Friday and Saturday nights.

So my barber/hair stylist had a shop in Fords, close enough for me to run out and get my hair cut on my lunch hour. As I was a regular, he got to know a little bit about me but man, I sure got to know a lot about him, or more precisely, his son. John (my barber) looked a lot like Joe Pepitone, with every one of the black hairs on his head always sprayed in perfect place. I mentioned early on that I was in a band, and from then on, every barber visit was accompanied by the adventures of John's son's band. I loved hearing the stuff, but wondered how much was made up and how much was true. He would say things like, "Randy, every time Iron Maiden comes to town they ask for my son's band to open for them." One week it was Kiss asking for John's son, another week it was Judas Priest, and maybe, Twisted Sister. If you believed John, his son played Madison Square Garden more than the Rangers. He almost always offered me a signed glossy of his son for my kids, which I always politely refused. John even offered me tickets to hear his son's band play, but I told him, "I can't go during the week because I have to get up early the next morning to get to work, and I play on the weekends, so that's out." He never seemed insulted that I refused his generosity.

I'm sure, Wally, you've already long figured out where this is going. I was soon able to get a job much closer to home, so I lost touch with my barber John. But like Paul Harvey might say, the rest of this story is in John's last name, which meant very little to me at the time. My barber/hair stylist was John Francis Bongiovi Sr. Oh, and none of the stories, it turned out, were made up!

May your son have as much success as John Bongiovi's son, and keep the acting journals coming!

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