My long lost cousin, LLC, told me about the time, when he was 15, he became “the man of the family”, in Chicago.
It was the time he decided to join the school marching band, playing the bass drum. He had an ear for music, so his teacher said, so he was given the drum. He started practicing every night. He went through the house banging away.
His father had a fit and told LLC in no uncertain terms to quit playing, he was terrible. There was a God awful row, with his mother crying that her husband, the grump, was stifling my cousin’s musical talent.
The father shouted: “ I would trade both of you for a little peace and quiet.”
The mother packed up and took LLC to her sister’s. She told her husband she wouldn’t return until he apologized.
“ Now, my son, you are the man of the family,” said my cousin’s mother, tearfully.
LLC turned pale, he thought he might have to go to work now. Shock. Horror.
One day, LLC returned home to pick up some of his records, but his house key wouldn’t work. He banged on the door, he was good at banging now.
His father came to the door; “ Stop that knocking.”
“ My key won’t work.”
“ Of course not, I’ve changed the locks,” said his father, slamming the door.
Would you believe it, he doesn’t want us back, thought LLC.
After a couple of weeks of separation, a neighbor asked what his mother was doing.
“ She’s going to Butte,” said LLC.
Now, he didn’t know what that meant, but he heard someone say it on the TV once. The neighbor didn’t know what it meant either. But she thought it must mean that the boy’s mother ran off with a man named Butte.
The neighbor told all the ladies in the neighborhood. Then they told their husbands. LLC’s mother was seeing a Mr. Butte, a Romeo, a fortune hunter, a pool shark with a beard.
Well, when the father stopped for a beer and heard this from all the men in the tavern, he was like a raging bull. He went to the pool hall and punched the first guy he saw with a beard. The guy turned out to be the local gangster. So four of his henchmen proceeded to beat up the father with their pool cues.
LLC’s father ended up in the hospital. The mother asked her son if they should relent in their demand of apology. My cousin, being the man of the family, pondered this for a few minutes.
“ Let’s go to see Dad in the hospital. This “ man of the family” stuff isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.”
When mother and son were at the father’s bedside, LLC said, “ Dad, please can we all go home, I will give up the drum.”
His mother also said, she wanted her husband back.
Her husband said, “ Will you stay away from Butte?”
“ But Butte is in Montana,” said his wife.
Her husband grinned.
“ Good, wonderful, I must have really taught him a lesson!”