I’ve mentioned before what a practical joker my father was. He lived to laugh, and he'd try to make others laugh, most often, at their own expense. No one was safe from Freddie boy when he got started. Before my aunts and uncles could rebound from the pigeons on the roof escapade or the rabbit stew debacle, Fred was busy planning out the next joke.
Our family would visit my maternal grandmother’s house on 7th and Ellsworth Streets every Sunday for early dinner before rushing back to the store. Grandmom wasn’t that far from the Italian Market on 9th Street, so everything back then was organic and free range.
We didn’t have the corporate farms back then like we do now, with food enhanced with so many chemicals, estrogen, antibiotics and only God knows what else. Grandmom would make her pasta and tomato gravy from scratch.
My grandfather loved his beer. Knowing this, my father during several of the Sunday visits, would guzzle down a beer and then refill the bottle with water followed by carefully replacing the cap. He did this, unobserved, for a while. One day, and after a particularly hot day working in the nearby bakery making bread for ten hours, my grandfather pulled out a tampered bottle of beer and guzzled it down. Thinking the first bottle a fluke, he downed a second and then a third bottle; they all tasted like water. Grandpop went berserk; big time. The Beer Distributors were cheating him and he was pissed.
Grandmom called our house to tell us that Grandpop was going bat shit crazy and was planning on heading over to the beer distribution site to give the owner a piece of his mind. Translated into English, it meant that Grandpop was going to beat the living shit out of the owner. She wanted someone to stop him before he got into trouble.
Freddie boy had to jump into his Dodge Desoto and head off his very angry father-in-law. I’m not sure what happened that day, but mom and dad fought when he came back home. It was a few weeks before we kids learned of the practical joke, and why we'd stopped going over our grandparent's house. Eventually, Grandpop got over the trick played on him. He and my father made up over a few glasses of home made wine. Of course, after a few glasses of kick-ass, home made wine, everything seem funnier, and usually, all is forgiven.
Side note: my grandfather took to locking up his beer supply when my father was around, just in case, Fred wanted to play another practical joke on him.