Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and yes whether they are with us or not in the flesh I guarantee most if not all ARE always with us. My father Max Bishop was unique to the point that when we had phone books he was listed under the name I just noted plus Emile Bishut. The family Americanized the name after arriving from Czechoslovakia (now The Czech Republic and Slovakia) as my Grandmother and Grandfather carried the Slovak version with them as they arrived on Ellis Island. As time went on Dad became a power hitting sandlot standout and "Max" seemed more appropriate as he manned the hot corner plus pitched at Brookside Park. He played for White Motors and the Trocadero
Dad's love of baseball was instilled in me at early age playing on the diamonds at Morgana Park on Broadway in Slavic Village, Golden Knights Little League at St. Henry on Harvard and one year in Warrensville Hts. I will never forget Dad coming home from the plant, Columbia Metal Stamping, where the shell of the building still stands on Harvard Avenue east of Broadway, sweaty and dirty, whether walking from the bus stop or getting out of his push button transmission DeSoto wagon and I knew what was coming next especially if we did not have a game. Dad's rule was this as soon as he handed his round top metal lunch box to Mom: we had 1/2 hour together. Most of the time I made sure to have two gloves and a ball handy and sometimes even a catchers mitt where he would get into a crouch and handle my "smoke". Indeed we had a 1/2 hour to have a catch, shoot hoops at the bucket on the old wooden back board on the garage or toss the football. I did not not realize by that time Dad was pretty much "out on his feet" as factory work was hard, dirty and rough. He had his 1/2 hour lunch where he would have a cup of joe from his thermos along with a bologna or chip chop ham sandwich with the deli meat from Lawson's and he loved eating a tomato like an apple with his lunch. Of course he grew them in the little garden tucked into the corner of the back yard. Then it was back to work. No complaints as he was a member of the Greatest Generation and it was his duty to support his family, no questions asked. Mom's job? Show on the front stoop at 3412 E. 53rd Street or back steps at 3990 JoAnn Drive after 1/2 hour with a high ball (usually made with Keslers, "smooth as silk" or Old Crow and Cotton Club ginger ale). I would bring him the Press, yes not that long ago Cleveland had a DAILY morning and afternoon paper although the Press did not publish on Sunday, and he would enjoy his drink, read the paper, then magical Rose (Mom) had it timed so dinner was ready. Always a gourmet meal of liver and onions, soup chicken she somehow made palatable to be served on it's own with some type of potato and veggie. After dinner in my very early years he would fire up a Lucky Strike and watch TV. A spot on his lung by the travelling X Ray truck (which turned out to be a mistake) scared him straight and halted his smokes. He was ciggie free his last 36 years!
Friday night was big deal when we moved to Lee Harvard as we had a basement and when the Tribe was on the road Dad had bought and repaired and old stand alone TV (they were easy to repair with tubes!) and moved it to our "man Cave." Concrete walls, tiled floor, nice and cool as we did not have AC and out "theater seats" were lawn chairs from the back patio! Always some Carling's Black Label (brewed in Cleveland) in heavy metal cooler for Dad. I was allowed a "Little Soda" t(Cream Soda was my fave) that was 6 ounces and the bottles came in a wooden case. These were the times for wisdom along with walking our Boston Terrier "Scamper" around the block. "Treat others like you want to be treated, never ever take advantage or pick on someone smaller, older, younger and do not abuse animals." Dad had his rules. Two that always stand out are "you will never lay a hand on a Female no matter what. If so you will no longer be a Bishop" and another blockbuster was more of a HEADS UP...when people talked in a disparaging manner about the "blacks" moving in or the dang Jews or Hungarian immigrants, Max would say as "soon as we walk away he'll talk about the fish eating Catholics." Yup the street kid from Scovil Avenue then Hamlet was wise...very wise.
I can talk about Dad coaching baseball with the other WWII vets. I always picture Mr. Rutkowski catching BP with a cigar sticking out of his mask or Coach Goliat, a second sacker for the Phillies "Whiz Kids" teaching us how to field a ground ball. There is so much more! Going to games at Municipal Stadium (baseball) as football was for Dad and the Uncles or Barons games plus he grew my love for HS Sports as every Friday when I would hand him the paper he would find a game we "needed to see" with a top player. Shucks Benedictine and Ohio State legend Larry Zelina lived across the street!
Yes there is more. Max succumbed to lung disease in 1996 and I will never forget him flashing me a "thumbs up" shortly before he was called HOME. I love you Dad and will continue talking to you until I see you again.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the Dad's.