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Sunday, June 30, 2013

celticgods: Wedding and almost Funeral

celticgods: Wedding and almost Funeral: Frank, we'll go to the Plaza Diner, OK? Yeah that's cool. The traffic heading back to NJ was moderate and as we crossed the Geor...

Wedding and almost Funeral


"Frank, we'll go to the Plaza Diner, OK?"
"Yeah that's cool."

The traffic heading back to NJ was moderate and as we crossed the George Washington Bridge we had discussed where to eat and the Plaza Diner in Fort Lee New Jersey provided a convenient and acceptable place.
We had just played a gig, well a wedding anyway, but it paid the requisite 75 bucks per man and as the groom was a friend of the band we broke our "no wedding" rule and played the wedding. The reception was up in Co-Op City held in one of that development's communal catering rooms and was an example of New York City's rainbow diversity - The groom was Puerto Rican  his wife was from the D.R. and their friends were African American, Blancos, Chinese, Jews you name it.

One of the friends of the couple, a white chap with a corduroy sport coat, had brought his guitar and we were asked to let him perform one song for the newlyweds. Our leader the rhythm-guitarist Don (yes, both guitar players in the band were named Don...) assented and after our first break the friend was introduced. We set him up with a mike and backed him as he did his song and received polite applause from the assembly of family & friends when he was done.
We then started up our next number and low-and-behold the family friend with guitar and the leather elbow patches stayed put and gave no indication he was ever leaving. We left him through our first scheduled song of the set out of politeness and when he stuck firm into the second one, ignoring all whispered suggestions/pleas/orders from my band mates to take himself away, I took it upon myself (as I was closest to him) to place my foot firmly upon his arse and thereby shove him (mind you my hands never left my Stratocaster) out of the way. He then seemed to have gotten the message, and no one in the party seemed put out, plus I provided the others in the band with a good chuckle for later as we were packing up the equipment to leave.
Oh yes that occasion was noteworthy for one other thing, my first ever singing performance in public. The Rolling Stones had a hit song "Miss You" at the time and we had rehearsed it musically but somehow without any input from me it was decided the "white boy guitar player" would sing it at the next gig. Never been so frightened in my life, and Jagger has nowt to fear from me, though I got respectful applause at the end.





Frank (our saxophonist and a recent graduate of MIT was the offspring of a brilliant, serious and accomplished Puerto Rican father and a no-less-serious ex-Hitler Youth  mother "Frahnck, Frahnck!"), aimed his 8 year-old blue 1969 Mercedes Benz 250 to the right, properly indicated our exit from the GWB and we swung onto Lemoine Avenue in Fort Lee and headed southward for the Plaza.

Frank turned into the entrance and as the small parking area in the front was full he continued down the narrow driveway (clearly marked "Entrance" and "One Way" in our favour) on the right side of the diner for the larger lot at the back. Just as we entered the one-way a Buick came at us, ignoring all rules and posted signs pulled right up to Frank's front bumper, blowing his horn.
At this point, I am sizing up the two large round fellows (deffo NOT coppers) in the car opposite and keeping in mind we are currently in Fort Lee the capitol of New Jersey Mob-dom, I felt the steam from Frank's ever-more-crimson right ear hits the side of my face, he lowers the window and shouts:
 "Can't you fucking morons read, I have the right of way!".  This was a bad move.

At this juncture (as Bush Sr.) would say, the two men in the Buick fly out of their respective sides and hasten towards us, heretofore swarthy complexions now white with rage. It was right about this moment I spotted the pistol in the shoulder holster under the left arm of the passenger's sportcoat as he exited the vehicle.This the chap who is in the process of grabbing Frank's neck through the car window and backhanding his face while promising a virtual Dante's Inferno as retribution for our "transgression" and lack of respect.
So, from the moment I spied the gun in the chap's sweaty armpit I calmly composed my new mantra and upon completion I chanted it loudly both at Frank & the driver (who thankfully was a lot calmer than his companion) of the other car as he approached my side.
The mantra has 2 parts and went a little sumpin' sumpin' like this:

"Frank back the fuck up he's got a gun! We are VERY sorry, sir!"
"Frank back the fuck up he's got a gun! We are VERY sorry, sir!"
"Frank back the fuck up he's got a gun! We are VERY sorry, sir!"
The slap to his face brought Frank to his senses and accepting my mantra as his own, he found reverse gear like Parnelli Jones and launched us out of the way and into the boulevard where we exited the scene, post haste as they used to say, our appetites banished for that evening.