The Christmas Tree Hike   1 comment

Rockefeller Center TreeIt was December of 1964 and the boys were bored. Ronald said, “I don’t want to just hang around here for the weekend. We do that too much.”

Jack suggested, “We could call Carol and those girls from Queens. Maybe we can finally meet them.”

Sean wasn’t interested,”Nah, We’ve been calling them since the summer, they never show up when we go to meet them.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

Herman said, “If we were from Ohio we could go to see the tree in Rockefeller Center.”

Sean jumped in, “Why don’t we go. I’ve never seen it in real life.”

Roger said, “As long as we’re going why don’t we walk.”

Jack, “It’s probably ten miles.”

Sean, “Then we better start early.”

Jack, “It’s supposed to snow.”
Ronald, “Then we better wear gloves.”

Herman jumped up, “A Quest, we will walk to the tree or die trying.”

Sean said, “We better meet here at seven. We can go over the Brooklyn Bridge and take the Bowery up from there. Bring as much money as you can. We might want to get something to eat.”

Ronald added, “I am bringing my knife. We don’t know the neighborhoods we’ll be going through.”

Roger agreed, “Yeah, I will too. We better all pack. See you in the morning, dress warm.”

The group met at seven except of course for Jack. Jack was late again. Six-foot five with legs almost as long as the rest of the guys were tall but they could never get him anywhere on time.

The Great Trek finally got started at seven-thirty. They didn’t take the most direct route. Each would have their own favorite places they wanted to pass. Ronald wanted to walk the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights. He liked the view. Herman wanted to go through the East Village, Jack wanted the west village. He said that was the real Greenwich Village. Sean liked the Flatiron Building. For Roger it was Times Square.

It was at Times Square that things got interesting. Herman insisted on stopping for an Orange Julius. He loved the damn things. They were on line waiting to reach the counter when a man in his forties bumped into Sean.

He said, “Sorry kid, I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

He started walking away when Herman yelled, “He took your wallet.”

The man took off like a shot and the chase was on. He started out faster but an out of shape forty year old has no chance of out running five teenagers. They caught up to him on Tenth Avenue. He backed into a doorway and pulled a knife with a three inch blade. The five boys pulled their own knives. Ronald’s had a curved blade that was almost a foot long. When he snapped that damn thing open it almost looked like a sword.

Sean said, “Drop that knife and give me my wallet.”

After Sean got his wallet back Herman said, “Now it’s our turn empty your pockets and drop the money on the ground.”

They took him for every dime he had then chased him away. Three blocks later they were stopped by a cop car.

“Were you guys the ones chasing the pickpocket?”

Sean said,”Yeah.”

“Did you catch him?”

“Nah, He dropped my wallet and since we had it back we stopped chasing him.”

“Can you ID him?”

“Nah, We never got a real good look at him.”

“Ya wanna make a report.”

“Nah, I got my wallet back.”

“OK, Have a good day kid be careful.”

“Thanks, we will.”

A few blocks later the boys ducked into a doorway and checked their money. Sean had six dollars in his wallet and it was all there. They counted the money from the pickpocket it added up to four hundred seventeen dollars and sixty-two cents.

Jack said, “Screw hot dogs. Let’s go to a fancy place to eat.”

They all agreed. Hell they were a bunch of kids from Red Hook. They had never had the money for a real fancy New York restaurant. They walked around looking for a famous place. They wanted the fanciest place around.

Herman spotted it, “There that one I’ve seen it on TV and in the movies.”

The guys looked in the window. It looked perfect they saw a local sportscaster and two guys with their own TV shows.

The boys went inside where they were met by a tall man in a suit.

“The restrooms are only for customers.”

Sean said,” We are customers. We want to eat.”

“We don’t sell hamburgers or hot dogs.”

“Who said we hamburgers. Just show us to a table.”

“You will have to leave now. You aren’t dressed appropriately.”

Jack yelled, “Screw you and screw this place. I ain’t eating here they got roaches.”

Two other men joined the tall man and the boys were ushered out. They were not a happy group. Here they were New Yorkers born and bred. But they stood outside in the cold not allowed into a New York restaurant while all the tourists sat inside. They could see them sitting by the windows.

Herman said, “Watch this, hold my coat.”

He handed his coat, hat and gloves to Ronald and went to the window. There a family that looked like they were from Utah a real Norman Rockwell family sat eating a fine lunch. Herman went to the window and wrapped his arms around his chest. He stood by the window in the snow, coatless until they noticed him. Then he started giving them sad eyes and acting like he was starving. He watched every bite from plate to mouth. When they all stopped eating and stared at him he started to lick the window. Finally the tall man came running out and grabbed Herman by neck.

As he was pulled through the door Herman stuck his finger down his throat and puked on the tall man. The man let go of Herman and backed away.

Herman yelled as loud as he could, “I can’t help it if your food made me sick mister.”

Herman ran from of the restaurant. The boys caught up with Herman four blocks away. He put his coat and hat back on and they continued to the tree. They saw the tree, put a hundred dollars in the pot of a bell ringing Santa and stopped for something to eat, Hot dogs and hamburgers of course.


Posted September 16, 2014 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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One response to “The Christmas Tree Hike

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  1. Loved the part about cleaning out the “dip”.

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