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Story ID:9579
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Syracuse New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

This story takes place shortly after WWII in the 1940ís. It is the third story of three illustrating that my DAD was not one to trifle with. This story happened in the city of Syracuse, NY.

We had a small farm just outside the city. We raised pigs, goats, cows and geese. Now days everything at the super market is all prepackaged but in those days foods were prepared right there in the store. Chickens for example, came in with their heads and feet still on and their innards intact. They had been killed and plucked and then shipped to the store that way. Pork came as a half a pig and beef as a quarter of a cow, and the butcher had to cut everything up and wrap it in brown paper.

Fruits and vegetables came in baskets, bags and boxes. Then the outside leaves were removed and they were washed and everything right there in the store. There was always a bath tub for the purpose, that stood waist high and was filled with very cold water.

My Dad made arrangements with one A&P store and two Mohican stores to pick up all of their garbage. Every week we went to each store with our truck and hauled away all of their garbage. When we got home we fed the vegetable leaves, bruised fruits, outdated bread and so on to our cows and our horses or mules and the goats. We fed the fish, meat and poultry waste to the pigs.

In one of the Mohican stores there was one man who was a Scotsman. Most of the others who worked there were all of Italian distraction. We came to know them well. Often when we were there they came to the area where the vegetables were cleaned to smoke a cigarette, tell jokes and kill time. One day Dad asked one of them nicely, to get out of his way. The guy didnít move and said something to Dad in Italian.

They did not know it, but Dad had grown up associating with people from a number of different ethnicities. His family spoke German in the home. Because of the others he hung out with as a boy, he had learned some Polish, Italian, some Slavic languages and so on. He could talk in their tongue to a lot of European peoples. I did not, but Dad understood Italian.

When Dad asked the guy to get out of his way and the guy said something to him in Italian, Dad picked him up and threw him bodily, clothes and all, into the tub full of ice cold water, with odds and ends of celery leaves and dirt , etc. floating in the water. Dad said, ďIíll teach you to tell me to kiss your ass!Ē

All the other store employees laughed and laughed. The guy in the tub of water got out of the tub cussing up a storm. It was easy to tell every time we came there the guy did not like Dad, but he kept out of Dadís way and never again said anything to him, which was fine with Dad.

It is not known how the guy managed to stay at work the rest of the day with soaking wet clothes. Fortunately for him it was a warm sunny day and not a cold winter day. None of the other guys there had any sympathy for him. They told him he had it coming.

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