I have to admit that I grew up with very colorful people. There were all my relatives and friends of my parents that I learn about life and developed a certain code to which I lived by. Most of these men grew up during the Depression and they had a certain outlook to life which was developed from that trial, not to mention that they learned other aspects that may have been foreign to them from the Warner Brothers films that they watched all of their lives. These were tough guys that enjoyed life and they partied most of the time. Most of them had very colorful nicknames which was the way of that period, and some of them I only learned their true identities at the funeral homes that I attended. These characters were not only found in the Detroit area, but also from my Father’s hometown and some of the other adopted hometowns in his life.
We would vacation up in Saint Catherines, Ontario at least once a year. These were occasions of heavy eating and drinking and boisterous parties. For several years in a row there was a golf outing, not just any golf outing, because these fellows belonged to country clubs, this was a destination golf outing and it was held in Ellicotteville, New York. Ellicotteville was a small town south of Buffalo that was known mostly for the skiing, but they were also trying to develop the area into a golf location for the warm months. It was a very challenging area to golf in, as the course was quite hilly, as one would expect since the area was a ski resort. All along the course you could look up and see the lines that were used to take the skiers to the top of the different hills and it was a unique setting. I really did not golf, not to the extent that these guys golfed, though there were lots of side bets and then there were the famous “gimmees;” sometimes even when the ball had not even got to the green. Some were serious and some were there for the good times. Since I did not golf, I was part of the entertainment committee. I drove a jerry rigged golf cart that held an enormous cooler filled with beer and ice, and a shelf that had plastic glasses and a small bar of Canadian Whisky and Scotch. I was one of more popular individuals during the outing and I constantly had to return to the central tent to restock for the golfers.
In the evening we would all convene at a restaurant that was reserved for this genteel group of “athletes” for dinner and more drinks. The conversations would center on one man’s ability to hit the ball, but most of the jokes had nothing to do with the golfing. By dinner time, I could not even tell you where we were dining, but we all found the location. The reason that they had the outing there was because some of the men had chalets there for the ski season and the town was known for looking the other way at some of the escapades of these over age boys. Dinner was just long tables of all the men with family style service from the restaurant. Starting with shrimp cocktails, salads, then onto platters of porterhouse steaks, lobsters, crab and an assortment of vegetables, the diners convened. As they liked to say, “They were eating like they were going to the chair” which I am sure was a trite line that was used in lots of the gangster films of the Thirties. Thankfully I was not the only one that enjoyed wine, or my masculinity would have been questioned that far back, I smile as I type that, because these were rough and tough beer and whisky drinkers. I am looking at the wine from one of the outings it is a Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Claret (NV?). A very fine winery, but I am sure that it was the red wine of the house and I do not remember there being any white wine being served. This Claret was pure Cabernet Sauvignon, so it was I would say for the era, a good choice in wine, especially for this group outing.