We drove over the old wooden bridge by the railroad tracks down to Route 28, looking to see if the Shop-Rite might be open on Christmas Day to sell us a dozen clams for an appetizer.
Mostly we were just wasting time, driving around, waiting for the turkey and pork roast to be done.
The sign said Flemington was about 18 miles or so away.
``I got my first deer in Flemington, did I ever tell you? I don’t think I did,’’ Papa said.
He must have at one point, but I couldn’t remember.
``It was on Ricardo’s farm. He let me sleep there for a couple of days when we went hunting, hell as long as I wanted, he didn’t care.’’
``Frankie and I we posted in the morning and didn’t see anything, so I said let’s take a walk. I was walking along near the edge of the property and I saw a deer lying down and I shot it,’’ he said.
A man then approached and started talking. My father said he didn’t understand him too well because he hadn’t been in the country that long.
``But the deer was a small buck and I think the horns had to be so long to take it because he was going like this with his hands,’’ my father said, holding his thumb and index finger about three inches apart.
``So, I thought `Oh, oh,’ this might be trouble and told Frankie to go get Ricardo, and he takes off `Boom’ to get him. Next thing, Ricardo comes up, takes the gun from me, points it at the guy and says `What’s going on here? Get out of here you lousy Pollock! Didn’t I say I never wanted to see you here again? Get out of here!’’
The guy left and Ricardo said not to worry about him. Ricardo wouldn’t have shot him, my father said, ``but I was scared when he grabbed the gun from me.’’
Ricardo wanted to sell him the farm for $6,000 and a bigger piece nearby for $9,000, but no one wanted it, not my mother, not my aunts.
``He said `Alex it’s a good deal.’ And he meant it. But we had just came from the farm. They all said why do you want to do that again? And I had money, instead of buying it what did I do? I went out and bought a car,’’ my father said looking at the half-million dollar plus houses that have sprung up since.
``I had chances, plenty of them,’’ he said.
Not that he did bad, but the fisherman in him always lamented the ones that got away.
The brother of a friend of his, Elias, builds million dollar homes now, he said. In front of one, as a decoration, he put a canastro, also known as an ho’rreo _ a type of crib used to store corn, millo in Gallego.
Later on we watch television as a French chef in Lyon makes crepes _ filloas in Gallego. The stovetop was a flat piece of stainless steel that was heated and the pans were placed on top for cooking.
``That was called La Economica. I guess because it was economical. You put wood in it and the top was flat like that,’’ my father said. ``Not everybody had one. Some just had a fire on the floor and you put your pots over that _ lareda, we called it.’’