Cold in the house this morning! The furnace went off!

I awoke early. Cold. 35 degrees outside. 60 degrees inside. However felt like 30!

Repair people came promptly. The result of doing business with them for over 40 years!

The problem is the thermostat. They are working on it as I write.

Yesterday I had a fun lunch with Gus. Gus is a fellow attorney, about 13 years younger than me. We have been buddies for years.

We ate at Joe’s. An experience! One I have not had in several years.

Joe’s is a corner bar located in what is East Utica, once the home of Italian immigrants. Time changes everything. It is now an oasis in the middle of empty lots, deserted buildings and an otherwise run down neighborhood.

There was a bit of personal sadness involved in the visit also. I grew up two doors from Joe’s. The building is gone. It is now part of Joe’s parking lot.

I mentioned to Gus that where he parked his car in the lot was my bedroom–3 floors up!

Joe’s has a history!

It probably opened sometime during or after World War I. A long time ago!

There was a time when ladies of the night frequented the place. Again a long time ago!

Joe’s was open during Prohibition. They bootlegged out of the place. A tunnel was constructed under Joe’s which ran several hundred feet under the ground to a house on a side street. I am not sure where the alcohol was manufactured. But it was all tied in.

My parents would never go to Joe’s when they lived nearby. They considered it disreputable. And of course I was not permitted.

I did sneak in once when I was about 4 years old. Early in the morning with another neighborhood friend. We broke in! Tipped over paint cans and did some other minor vandalism.

We got caught. We must have told others. Word got back to the owners. And the police showed up at my home!

I still remeber these 2 big cops climbing the stairs to our third floor apartment. They explained to my parents what I had done.

My father gave me a beating I will never forget!

That was the family court of those days! And the punishment cured me of ever doing something similar again!

Today however my father would probably be arrested for abusing me. Today’s system of justice leaves something to be desired in certain respects. The punishmnet my father rendered unto me punished and cured me at the same time. It was clear to me, and my butt, that what I did was wrong and never to be done again! Top it with the embarassment to me and the family of the police coming to the door!

Spare the rod and spoil the child! It still has application contrary to present popular opinion.

Back to Joe’s.

The food is absoultely delightful! You cannot eat anywhere like you can eat at Joe’s!

We had antipasto, roasted peppers, ziti covered with mushroom stew (which never contains any mushrooms)and sweet sausage. Delicious!

I can never get Beefeater or a name brand gin. I drank Mayberrys yesterday. Several of them. No affect! About 20 proof.

The atmosphere is derilect. The place has not been painted nor updated since it was opened. About 80 years. Rarely cleaned, if ever. The bathroom is a hole in the floor. I never go. I hold it.

But it has character!

To my Key West friends, it makes Schooner’s Wharf look good!

The same family still runs the place. Children of the the children of the children, etc. A few Phds, masters and bachelor degrees have been earned by family members along the way. Most have other careers. However they all put in some time working at the restaurant. Especially on weekends.

It is Sunday. I return to Key West tomorrow. I cannot wait. It is now my home! And I miss it!

Today my father and I will go to watch his great grandson and my grandson Andrew play T ball. Exciting!

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