It was that awful day we lost Dad….for over an hour. It later became one of those entertaining family stories that everyone enjoys except for maybe the leading man. Dad always left the room when I began to tell this one.
He had driven Mom and me out to watch the Holy Name Parade in Hackensack one Sunday afternoon. I was only five and was quite impressed, especially with the big Mickey Mouse balloon Dad bought me.
Parking spaces were scarce in Hackensack that day. We finally found one on a side street and had to walk back several blocks guided by the lively music of a marching band. We didn’t get any such help returning to the car after the parade. In fact its exact location turned out to be a matter of opinion. “It’s down this street, Jim,” Mom said after we’d hiked for about 10 minutes.
“No, Nora, we have to walk a couple of blocks more,” Dad said.
“Well when you find out you’re mistaken you can come back here and meet us at the car. We’ll be waiting,” Mom replied.
“When you get tired of your futile search around here,” Dad said, “just walk two blocks over and turn right. I’ll be waiting.” I thought it best to stay out of the debate, so I just played with my smiling pal Mickey who was floating above me on a string.
Mom and I soon found the car, but it was locked, so we stood at the curb and we waited………and we waited. Eventually Mom began to lose patience and Mickey began to lose altitude. Finally she flagged down a passing patrol car and reported a missing husband. “Lady, it’s a parade day. He’s probably having a beer with his buddies. Don’t worry, he’ll show up, ” the cop said and pulled away.
A half hour later I watched Mickey flutter to the gutter just as Mom was hailing another patrol car. This one held a surprise. Dad was in the back seat, helping the police find his “lost family” and “stolen car”. He was absolutely certain he’d parked two blocks further than where we’d found it, but he could never convince Mom of his theory that some smart aleck car thief had hot-wired the DeSoto and relocated it as a joke.