Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Varmints are Coming!

My favorite memories are the times spent with my grandparents in their two-story brick rowhouse in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Across the street was the neighborhood kid's hangout: John's candy store. For five cents you could sit at the marble counter and John would fix you a fountain soda with your favorite syrup; mine was vanilla. He had a large assortment of penny candy, we took our time choosing. My grand mom would give me $.25 and send me the John's with a porcelain bowl for scoops of Breyers Vanilla Fudge and Cherry Vanilla ice cream. Happily my brother and I ate the ice cream while watching grand mom's black-and-white television that only had four channels.  Friday was my favorite day in the week  because we could go to the corner fried fish store and either get a Fishcake for $.15 or a Crabcake for $.25.  I loved the crab cakes the best and to this day it is one of my favorite foods.  What I enjoyed the most was listening to my grandfather tell stories, it seemed like he could spin them out of air.            " Oscar Birth" 1930         Poem written by Joan Reese
OSCAR BIRTH
1907- 1970

"The Varmints are coming! The Varmints are coming!
They want your money and your drink,"
Peeking through the venetian blinds, Grand pop Birth declared,
Drinking boiler makers, shouting  "They're out there!"
Did ya know, I captained the Titanic before she sinks?"
Drinking boiler makers, shouting  “I don't care!"
Grand pop captured Al Capone and put him in jail.
Beer man delivers twice a week  
Grand pop's  drink’n buddy's the parish priest.
Father O'Connor and Grand pop toasting: "May you be forty years 
In heaven before the devil knows you're dead."
We sat in amazement as our grandfather spun his tales.
Grand pop rode with Colonel Custer,
Dodging bullets to deliver the mail.
Peeking through the venetian blinds, Grand pop Birth declared:
The Varmints are coming! The Varmints are coming!
When I die, giv’em drink."