|Betts Hospital, Easton PA; birthplace of TOF|
"Never fear," he said. "This is almost the shortest day of the year, so you won't have to endure it long."
:Horse feathers," said Mut in that Germanic way she had. "Horse feathers and donkey turds." German idioms tend toward the colorfully scatalogical. "I'm just glad he's out of there." She referred of course to the Weight of TOF, which tipped the scales at around 10 pounds.
"That's my boy," said Pere, who was not yet Pere, handing out cigars to everyone who would hold still and chasing down and tackling those who would not and stuffing Phillies Blunts in their mouths. "Pay him no mind," said Big Mom to the Mut (who, however, was not yet the Mut), "he's Irish." Since everyone was living at her house -- technically, by modern definitions, TOF's family was homeless -- what she said went. Guv had some say, too. He had been in the trenches in France and knew how to go over the top.
|l. to r.: cousins Paul and Mariellen and the TOFling,|
living at their grandmother's house. TOF and Mariellen were
TOF, The Early YearsTOF has very little memory of his early years, although he is certain he had some. Come to think of it, having just commenced his 70th year, he has very little memory of yesterday. What was I saying?
Oh, yes. The Mut once told TOF that he might have been named Michael Hinkle because there was a guy who was sweet on her whose name was Hinkle and wanted to marry her. This would have been Seriously Weird because in High School, TOF's girl friend was named Hinkle, no relation afaik.
|Sweet Sharon and TOF|
What if they had both been Hinkles?
When Mut brought TOF to the church to be baptized, Pastor Fries said, "Flynn is Irish. Take him to St. Bernards. That's the Irish parish." Fr. Fries, like all pastors of St. Josephs before him had been born in Germany or in German-speaking regions of Switzerland, Bohemia, etc. or were German-speaking sons of immigrants. No Irish need apply.
So the Mut says, "My uncles built this church, stone by stone. They can take it down the same way. Either you baptize him, or I take him home and baptize him myself under the kitchen sink."
|Schwars building the church, stone by stone.|
Scaffold: Uncle Leo, who also build the House
of TOF, Uncle George assisting. In foreground,
Big Mom, not yet Big Mom, mother-to-be of Mut.
The Schwars had been stone masons since
the middle of the 1600s.
The Irresistible Object is as nothing next to a German Mother. So Fr. Fries caved. TOF was baptized in the regular fashion. But it was years before the family received regular donation envelopes.
Irony alert: The last pastor of St. Joseph before it was folded into two other parishes to create Our Lady of Mercy, was a native of Tanzania and a member of the Hiya tribe. He spoke fluent Swahili, as well as English, Spanish, and of course Hiya.
|How can you not pinch his cheeks?|
|Personally won the Pacific war.|
There is a story about a foxhole on the beach on Iwo
|One-time assistant manager of the Hotel Easton.|
There is a story about when he didn't get the top job.
|A blacksmith and volunteer firefighter|
Once chopped a hole in the roof of the Presbyterian Church
|Left Ireland and was crushed between coal cars|
in New Jersey. His brother was run over by a box car.
|Was brought over by his sons John and Patrick|
but died two years later.
And so it was ordained that for three days of the year, to wit: from 17 to 19 December, his brother Dennis could brag on being "the same age" as his big brother, until, lo!, the birthday rolled round again and Michael once more pulled ahead. Mwahaha.
Perceptive Reader will notice that with birthdays on the 17th and 20th of December, the Flynn boys could get mighty confused when presents re-appeared once again on the 25th. Hey, what's going on here? Another birthday? When Reader is further informed that a third brother celebrates his annual superannuation on the 27th, said Reader may make a cogent guess as to when their father's own birthday falls and what pleasant gift he oft received.
Between two (and later three) birthdays and Christmas, parental spending could be spread mighty thin. Since Dennis and I were nearly of an age and had similar interests, the usual solution was that they got us two of everything.
Well, enough of that. Happy birthday to me. Woo-hoo.