Page 96 - Pat's Tavern
P. 96

Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneThe Filling StationDuring my grade school years, my father’s filling station served as a nice place to visit with my friends. We would work on our bicycles and put air in our tires and simply hang around. Eventually, I would work on Saturdays pumping gas to make some extra money. Once I entered high school, my days working at the filling station increased and I spent my summer vacations working there. Eventually my father’s partner sold his interest in the station and my days of employment increased. That is when an interesting development came about. I came to learn that some of the customers were former friends of my father during his gambling days. That is when my father counseled me that while he was waiting on these customers that I should speak only when spoken to. I found that not to be a problem as I rarely interrupted when my father was speaking. Usually the conversation involved places and names that I never heard of and therefore, it had no interest to me. Later on, my father would fill me in on the conversation after the person had left and I began to find my father’s past associations most intriguing.What I came to find out was that one of my father’s customers was head of the crime syndicate in that he operated the Policy Wheel or Numbers Racket on the South Side of Chicago. His auto agency was located along Automobile Row on Cottage Avenue near 61st Street. Although the head of the agency was in charge of that operation, he answered to a syndicate hierarchy for the entire Chicago region. It was during my dealings with these men that I came to discover that there is good and bad in everything and some of those who professes to being good are not so good after all. According to my father, you should judge people on an individual basis according to their own merits without any pre-judgement. I can truthfully say that these men were some of the nicest and most respectful men that I have ever met in my life and they never talked down to me. I have summarized my feelings in this matter as follows: “Trust is always earned, never given.” R. Williams.I was proud of my father because he had earned the trust of those who penalize the betrayer of that trust with dire consequences. As my father often said, “There is no if, and or buts. It is simply a matter of whether a person is trustworthy or not.” He also said, “Your word is your bond.” Although my father was never a member of their organization, he was able to maintain business dealings with them and they never questioned his integrity but, in fact they treated him with utmost respect and dignity. no matter whether these men were right or wrong according to the way in which society96

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