Later that night…I had a frustrating conversation with my daughter, Lizzie, who was currently being “played” by her father to get back in my good graces…for whatever reason I did not know…nor did I care…although I suspected it had somethin to do with money.
“I think he wants you guys to get back together!” Lizzie had said excitedly. I could hear lots of “hope” in her voice.
She hadn’t been in favor of the divorce but…I hadn’t had the heart to tell her everything either.
I knew I should have told her about his “friend” Sally and how that little encounter had directed the inevitable end of our marriage.
She and Chuck had always had a good relationship and I didn’t want to spoil that…so I chose to remain silent…and use the standard “we just grew apart” excuse. Chuck had followed my lead.
“Won’t you come to the barbecue this weekend?” she begged. “It’s our first of the season!”
Lizzie and her husband, Fred, were huge fans of “the barbecue”. I was not. I did not like my food charred on the outside and raw on the inside…which was Fred’s specialty.
Every year they could barely wait for the snow to melt…which in Rocky Point is around April first…before they trekked out to the elaborate grill that Fred had constructed last year out of old red bricks he had salvaged from a closed fire station in Duluth.
“Let me think about it, Lizzie. I’ve got to get going, honey. I’ll call you later.”
“I think dad is coming!!” she cried out just before I hung up. Oh brother…how can I get out of this?
It was just after midnight when I finally found myself in bed and settled.
I turned on the night light and then I turned on the little transistor radio.
I slowly moved the little ridged dial…stopping briefly at each AM station to discover what they offered. The reception was crystal clear on each one.
Contemporary music, country music, a Twins game, a heated discussion on the future of the Duluth Canal Park area, a review of the play “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Rocky Point Civic playhouse and…then I heard this…
“Look…say what you want. But today was a beautiful day and I’m not going to spoil it by talking politics with an idiot like you! Call me again, George! You’re one of my favorites!”
“Next up…Terry, Jane and Oscar. But first…a little commercial message from the fine folks at…you know…I’m not sure.”
“Hey Alex! Who’s paying for this 15-minute segment with Henry Dickson and his unbeatable charm?”
My mouth fell open and I smiled. “Who the hell was this guy?” And then I thought…I’ve always liked the name Henry.
I wondered for only a couple of minutes if this was a syndicated program or a local one…before “Henry” launched into a conversation about the need for Vikings’ pre-season football games.
He also asked his listeners to call in and share their favorite hamburger joint.
He rattled off the phone number of the radio station. Then a commercial for “End of the Road Bar & Grill” began…but not before Henry ordered…”Everyone go here! Their double cheese burgers with sour cream are the best!!”
“End” was a popular local bar in Rocky Point! I had been there just a few weeks ago…and I had loved it and their beer-battered onion rings.
I pulled the covers up around me and settled down to hear the results of his “hamburger hangout” poll.
I was asleep in less than 15 minutes but not before enjoying the interaction between Henry and his callers.
And…I’m pretty sure I had a smile on my face as I drifted off…