Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Retro K: Fridays with Mac

In the summer of 1975, Donald "Rimshot" Rhapsody (left in photo) and Eugene "Dragonman" Firestone (right in photo) robbed 75 banks throughout Central California, from Chico to Bakersfield. Dapper dresses and suave talkers, they charmed their way into the hearts of bank tellers who filled their own purses full of crisp cash and dime rolls and handed them over with a wink and blown kisses. This picture was taken at an illegal gambling parlor on the north side of Visalia one week before they were apprehended and just two days after they robbed Fresno First National Bank.

No wait, that's not right.

A few years ago I used to spend late Friday afternoons drinking a beer or two with Mac McGuire (on the right, not the left). Mac was an old friend and neighbor of ours in the apartment complex we used to live in by the lighthouse. We had met him before we had even met each other. He was a widower whose wife, Milly, had died over 15 years earlier. He never had any birth children of his own. He did have a step-son from his marriage with Milly, but they weren't really close.

Mac always wore polyester pants, slightly stained sweaters (including the blue v-neck we bought him one year for Christmas), and he walked around the complex day after day talking with anyone who talk to him (and even if they didn't). He was a kind man with a dry wit and deadpan one-liners. He was also an avid golfer and golfed up until the day he broke his hip (and he always had golf on TV when I was over, or Fox News, which I always gave him a bad time about).

One year when we were away on vacation, Mac was very ill with a blood infection. He somehow got himself into his bath tub, but then was too weak to reach the faucet. He cried out and banged on walls, but his neighbors weren't home. For three days he lay in that tub, naked and sick, with no water or food. Amazingly he survived and was rescued.

On almost every Friday afternoon for a few years, Mac and I would talk of our families, our travels, our true loves (Milly and Amy), our wily escapades (my lips are sealed). We kept an eye on Mac and he kept an eye on us. When we moved into our house two years ago, he moved back to Pennsylvania to be closer to family and live in an assisted-care facility.

Mac was a dear friend, a mentor and sometimes a father figure. He was 90 years old when he passed away in January of this year and will be missed.

Happy Father's Day, Mac.

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