Saturday, November 10, 2007

The day my dad beat up a hippie

In honor of Veteran's Day tomorrow, a funny story from my family.
My Uncle Jim, who told the tale, prefaced it by saying that when he was growing up, my dad was his hero. My dad, the oldest of 5, is almost 16 years older than Jim, who is the youngest. Uncle Jim was 13 when this happened...

On Pearl Harbor Day 1969, they were at a Browns game (at the old stadium, of course) and sitting in the bleachers. They were with two of their uncles. Throughout the whole game, a guy in the bleachers was waving a Japanese flag - some long-haired hippie, my dad and uncle agreed - in an army coat.

Apparently, my dad really hates hippies

After the game, they were walking back to the car when who should they see, out of the 80,000 at the game, but the hippie with the flag.

Fueled by four quarters of watching this moron swinging around a Japanese flag on Pearl Harbor Day (and
undoubtedly by beer as well), my dad went after the guy, ripping off his jacket so he was left wearing just sleeves and he punched him in the face, yelling that he had uncles who fought in that war. (Uncle Frank, who was with them, was one one of the uncles - but my dad was the one who felt the need to pick a fight. Uncle Frank had already fought the Germans.)

My great-uncles piled their blankets and coolers in Jim's arms, as they went after my dad to attempt to subdue him and get out of the area before someone called the cops. (Ironically, my great-uncle Adam, who was also there, was a Cleveland cop.)

And what was my 13 year old Uncle Jim thinking as this was happening all around him?

"Man, this is so cool!"

Uncle Jim thought it would be better to embellish the story and say the Browns were playing the Steelers, since he didn't remember who they were playing that day. Through the wonder of technology, I discovered it was Green Bay - someone is selling a Browns 1969 season card on ebay.

BTW, my Uncle Jim is now a retired Cleveland cop, having spent many years as a homicide detective.

(And since this is for Veteran's Day, my dad is a veteran, having served in the Air Force (before Vietnam), his brother Frank - now deceased - was stationed in Thailand during Vietnam, and at least one other great-uncle that I know of served in WWII.)

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