My Father was attending Northwestern University and working part time for the gas company in Chicago reading gas meters.
He was barely twenty years old when one afternoon, working in a row of attached building along Michigan Ave. he went
down a short flight of stairs to a basement apartment and knocked on a large wooden door. In an instant, the door came ajar.
A large man with a short beard, yellow teeth, and a pistol in his hand peeked through the slit of the door. " What do you
Father, undaunted, replied " gas company, I came to read the meter."
The door shut and a voice behind the closed door shouted " wait a minute."
The door opened again and Father stepped inside.
Inside were several men seated around a card table, bottles of liquor and piles of rolled cigarettes at their reach, cards
strewn across the table, game over.
" The meter is in there. Do what you got to do and get the hell out of here!"
As Father came out of the dark room and walked toward the door, one of the huge men put his hand on his shoulder and turned
"What do you see boy?"
Father surveyed the room. " Nothing! I don't see nothing!"
The huge man smiled. " Alright then, get out of here."
Father ascended the stairs back to Michigan Ave. and walked on into the stiff Chicago wind. It was his first encounter
with his new employer and the beginning of a profitable, if short, career riding shotgun on whiskey smuggling trucks running
from Canada to Texas. Being on Al Capone's payroll had it's perks, and it's hazards.
In 1928, while riding guard on one of the trucks, a hijacker jumped onto the running board of Father's truck and stuck
a gun into the open window. Father fired both barrels of his shotgun into the man and watched as the limp body fell from the
truck. The truck did not stop. Father rolled up the window and reloaded the shotgun before he settled into the seat for a
nap. " Wake me if you need me."
He was not needed again.
Not on that night anyway.