The Cowboy way!
I was talking to a friend of mine today while I was sitting here thinking about what story I wanted to share. I found myself smiling at the memory. So I figured what a better way to start today. Celebrating the memories that last a lifetime and still make you smile. Once upon I was a lass and life was truly an adventure.
I loved to ride, I wanted once upon a time to do nothing but ride horses. It is an amazing feeling to sail through the air over puddles and ride with the wind.
Funny something must just be in your blood. My mother was a champion horse rider. She had a wall full of blue ribbons . A case to hold all the trophies she won riding horses. She did it all in her short life, when I think about all she was able to do,it makes me cry at what a disaster her life became.
My mother rode champion horses and showed champion dogs. Walls , rooms full of ribbons, so many colors, no room for anything but all she had won.
Maybe a little of what was good passed through the blood that runs through my body. I forget the good stuff sometimes.
This is the story of how I met my first in-laws and the adventure that led to it.
I was about 20 when I went to visit my grandparents, they were old and I wasn’t sure how many more times I might see them. My love for my grandfather Herman, was stronger than any words can possibly express.( my son carries his name and wears his ring) My grandmother was a different story, she was the only grandmother I had so I learned to deal with her. She was not always kind to me and more often than not she was great at pointing out all my flaws. I do not think I can recall one time when my grandmother Rose said she loved me or that I was pretty. She always told me to be careful I might blow up like a balloon . I weighed all of 99 lbs soaking wet! It was never enough where she was concerned. My Papa( that was what I called him) was the only man I truly loved. I did not think anyone could pass his inspections. I said if you cannot get my grandfathers permission and blessings Id never marry you. I held my word. I was dating Randy, who eventually became my husband, we discussed visiting my grandparents. He wanted me to meet his family and I was very nervous about it. I did not have family and was never very certain how I was to act. I had no references and again I say, I winged a lot of things in my life and hoped for the best. This time was no exception.
My new adventure would begin on a warm summer evening while sitting at a local spot called the Tiki, a tacky little dive bar that served the best damn food and all the people who worked there either lived in the building or near by. The patrons were locals I knew, Randy knew all of them. They had a secret club back then… he was a member. I still have his beloved Tiki Mug. Over a bucket of Tiki wings served with a sauce they called Oh MY G-d sauce!!! I kid you not!
We Hyde Parker’s nicknamed the place the Tacky Tiki!
Though Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap and Cove Lounge come close, no imbiberys was more popular in Hyde Park than “The Tiki” from its opening in 1962 until its closure almost 40 years later. The promise of stiff rum drinks served in tiki heads, voluptuous naked ladies and hollowed-out fruit served with an old-school, neighborly charm turned what was formerly called Ciral’s House of Tiki into an institution in this South Side enclave.~ Herald
Ted Ciral was an institution, a meeting place and a great hideaway. It was a crazy place, and I have many fond memories about it and of him cranky Ted and his lovely nutty wife Bea. They created a place where anyone and everyone was welcome, only a few members were allowed to stay late passed closing for “one for the road” though the road was only a climb up the four-foot walk up! I spent many New Years parties at their home. They threw parties like nobody’s business!
“Tiki statuettes honor the walls with their weapons, glowing blowfish swim underneath bamboo rafters as wicker monkeys hang from the same and all the while incredibly designed zombie glasses overwhelm the coconut cups and Tiki god porcelain glasses.” ~Herald.
At night, Ciral’s was easily spotted via its enormous, brightly multicolored neon “House of Tiki” sign by night, along with several beer signs to match, which appeared more 50’s diner-like by day. Neighborhood locals as well as University of Chicago students and professors alike were lured to “The Tiki” for bamboozelment until the wee hours, 5am on Saturday night and 4am all other nights. Friday night was primetime at Ciral’s, even edging out its closest late-night competitor, “The Cornell” in the 1970’s. Pass through the plate-glass façade and you’d find a wavy bar to your right and a dozen or so sticky, florescent vinyl booths on your left.
“I remember the Tiki well when I was at U of C. We used to call it, ‘The Tacky Tiki.’ You were not allowed to go there unless the other bars (Jimmy’s or the U of C Pub) had closed. The menus had layer upon layer of stickers with updated prices, and the booth seeds were naugahyde covered with duct tape. But the best thing was the blowfish lamps (lightbulbs somehow mounted inside blowfish!). Or maybe it was the description of the sauces for the wings — ‘Hot sauce, hotter sauce — or, at your own risk — Omigod sauce.’ Fun times!”
– M.H. (November 20, 2008)
This was “our place” Randy and I. We spent many times there. I believe this was where we met for lunch the first time. Service was so odd and yet these guys became friends of mine they welcomed me with open arms. They were so pleased to see Randy with a ” nice” girl at his side. There were a few however who were not my biggest fans. Old girlfriends and whatnot’s.
So over drinks we discussed it was time to see my grandparents-in Florida, ( it is where all the Jewish community of our New Yorker’s went to live) We decided we would fly together meeting my grandparents,then he would fly to Arizona and I’d stay behind spending a little extra time with my grandparents. I would then fly to meet Randy in Arizona and meet his family. He’d be waiting for me and promised to kill roosters before I got there.( his father was not a fan of this deed and Randy , well that was a job he had done for years.) So we both traveled.
My grandparents approved of him and gave the blessings I would need. Though they mentioned he should speak up a little, he tended to mumble and they were a little hard of hearing. Randy suffered though the ramblings of my grandparents, and he whispered in the night he’d rather do another tour in Vietnam before spending any more time with them . Makes me giggle as I tap on the keys here today… My grandparents were a trip.
The ride to the airport was wild racing time and traffic the cabs were insane and I am not sure if they actually ever stopped at any red lights. It was about an hours drive though I think we made it there in 20 minutes with plenty of time to spare. I was a nervous wreck I hated flying , I’m terrified of heights and always have been. As a child my grandmother would tell me as they walked off the plane leaving me in a seat with no one to keep me safe. I had flown since I can remember, back in the dark ages a small child could fly alone.
We spent a few days with my grandparents before Randy would leave me to have “fun” with my grandparents. He then flew to Arizona to be with his family and get things situated for my arrival. A day I wont ever forget.
I was not having much fun with my grandparents, my grandfather was not a happy man, the death of his daughter turned him into a sour man, though his love for me was as deep as it could get. Waking me up in the middle of the night to eat half a box of only the chocolate part of a carton of Neapolitan Ice-cream. I miss those nights.
My days however were filled with my grandmother who was not all that kind and extremely hard to please. Nothing short of perfection would do for her. I was anything but perfect, my nose was always running, she did not like the clothes I wore( even if she picked them out) She did not like the way I wore my hair she was always telling me to wear it like someone else. It wore me down .
I had an escape however they belonged to a pool club! So swimming and spending time at the club is where I lived when possible! I was so stressed out from the constant complaining about what a rotten person I was and how I was just as horrible as my mother and I never did anything right I was just damaged goods and a huge disappointment! The list could go on for days. It did not matter what I did. SO I did what any normal gal might do I slathered myself up with good old baby oil and laid my ugly body out in the sun to bake for a while and listen to nothing!
That is until Someone splashed me with water waking me . I HAD FALLEN ASLEEP IN THE FLORIDA SUN!!!!!
What had I done?!!!! Oh MY dear G-d I cooked myself! I was burnt from head to toe, how long I slept for I could not tell you ,but what I can say is I was burning up! I made my way back upstairs to my grandparents Condo and prayed I might be-able to shower and cool myself down. WRONG!
I laid on the pullout couch and I wept. I hurt everywhere. I had worn a bikini so all of me was burnt to a fine crisp!
I finally broke down and careful moved through their home finding my grandfather sleeping on his lazy-boy and meekly spoke. I … I …. I ,he woke and jumped up and said WHAT DID YOU DO????? Off to the hospital we went crying all the way there. I was supposed to get on a plane to meet Randy and his family and I could barely moved, the clothes hurt my skin! Blisters were forming. The hospital put my burning body in an ice bath to cool down my temp and sent me home explaining how to lay cool wash cloths over my skin and hopefully in the morning Id be OK to get on a plane.
Early the next morning I woke in a fright I could barely move, let alone get dressed. My skin was so tight it hurt to crack a grin. I got into the shower with cold water and it hurt so badly I wish I could cry but the salt water tears only increased my agony. Dressed I had no choice of I had to get on that plane I had to get out of Florida I would not have made it one more day. My grandmother rattled on about what a disgrace I was and how disappointed they would be when I arrived to meet the new in-laws. I was so embarrassed as I looked in the mirror. I had sun blisters on my face not a pretty sight indeed.
Oh well, life goes on and off to the airport we drove, saying goodbyes to my grandparents and walking on to the runway and settling in on the plane to meet the new in-laws. I sighed as I sat there waiting to take off. I wore a short sundress so as little fabric touched my tender skin . It was painful to even sit.I am not exactly sure at what point but off into the blue skies we flew and had to make an emergency landing in Texas. They explained there was an issue with the engines and we all needed to stay inside the plane. We were free to walk about the plane and should take off again shortly. NOPE!
As we all were stuck on this plane we began to mingle a bit, lots of cowboys on the plane flying back home to wrangle up their cattle and such. The flight Attendants spoke over the intercom, “We are sorry for the delay but we will be serving free drinks while we are on the ground! “Well we were stuck on a plane on the ground( back then you could smoke at the back of a plane),that’s when the fun began or rather a scene I wont ever forget!
FREE BADLY MADE DRINKS AND A BUNCH OF ROWDY COWBOYS!
STRIP POKER! someone shouted and I had already put down a few bottle of G-d knows what. I prayed it would take the sting out and I was claustrophobic and hated the situation I was in so drink up big girl I said to myself keep up with them.
One thing led to another I have no intention of telling just how far or how badly I lost I will leave that up to your imagination. Let me just say this. I was a sight for sore eyes on so many levels!
They let us off the plane and told us we would be switching planes in about an hour but to please stop at their restaurant food was on the airlines.
I do not remember eating but I do recall the amazing amounts of Texans buying drinks one after the other lining them up and I was stupid and weary. I drank till we got back on the plane. I wasn’t doing too badly till the plane came rolling into Arizona. I started to feel nervous again and drunk as a skunk I surely was I tried to straighten out my clothes and smooth my dress and look like a normal gal. I got off the plane when they let us out and believe me we were a noisy bunch!
Randy standing at the gate walked up to me , he could tell I was a bit of a mess but said glad I made it and he was so sorry for such a long day, he looked at me and cried” WHAT DID YOU DO FALL ASLEEP IN THE SUN?” I was staggering swaying a bit I did not remember about his mother any longer I was going to be sick.
He leaned in to kiss me and I took a step back, right there on the floor I just threw up! Then this woman came over and said these words.” Welcome to Arizona, I see you enjoyed the flight!” This is my mother he whispered quietly in my ear. Meekly said hello.
Lets get you home Randy said it is about an hours drive and it is raining out so bundle up. I said no it hurt to touch my skin. SO we traveled up to Yar
nell way up above the world it seemed. driving round and round and round, they lived 500 feet above sea level on a mountain! The Jeep she drove had a leaky roof and was covered in purple inside I wasn’t sure what to do I was wet, burnt, and drunk beyond belief. She said just throw up out the window no place to stop. Up and up we drove for what seemed like forever, a lot of chatter between the two of them I am certain about me.
A grand view when you are not tossing your cookies!
We arrived it was dark out, and a man greeted us at the door, he said hello and I threw up again right there on the floor. last thing I remember was hearing a word about watching out for scorpions in the pillow cases before we went to bed.
Next morning the in-laws were sitting at the table “good morning “
My soon to be mother in law looked across the table and said, “you’ll do just fine!”
That is the story of how I met my first in- laws!
They are both gone now, but I remain very much in love with my sister-in-law.
She and I , we rode wild horses !
Thanks for coming with me today I hope you all had a good chuckle , I sure did.
Robin ~ a simple bird