Archive for October, 2014

Back Open Again

Preview of coming attractions


These were the people that influenced me.  The people that I looked up to, the guys that I tried to be like.  They come in all age groups from wise older men to cool young guys.


Frank Richard Hernandez.  Not a Bojon. but he lived in Bojon Town.  Probably not a name you recognize at first.  Everyone called him “Chico”.   I always did.  He was a true hero to me.  I believe he got polio when he was little.  It cost him the use of an arm, and he always limped a bit.  You could tell that it hurt, but he never talked about it.  He could do more with that one hand than most people could do with two.  And he was brilliant.  He was a simple man, but he had such insight into life that I would sit and listen to him for hours.  And he was hilarious.  He had a self-deprecating humor that most people didn’t get.  He used to call himself ‘The little Messican”.   Most people don’t know that he was responsible for me meeting my wife.  We were working in the gas station, and Velma was walking on the other side of the street.  Chico commented that she was starting to become quite a good looking girl, and I agreed, although that wasn’t exactly the language that we used in the gas station.  It was forbidden to speak like that.  It was probably more like ‘Wow!  That little girl from up the street is looking pretty fine!’  So, I said that I should probably go and ask her out.  He bet me a Pepsi that I couldn’t get a date with her.  I won the Pepsi.  The girl and I were married 35 years ago yesterday.  Thanks, Cheeks!!!


Anton Mramor.  Definitely a Bojon.  Everyone called him “Teedles”.  The stories about Teedles are many, and all hilarious.  He was pulling a chain through the work area.  A co-worker asked him why he was pulling the chain.  Teedles responded ‘Did you ever try pushing one”?  That was Teedles in a nutshell.  He had a quick response and a sense of timing that would make any stand up comedian jealous.   He was like a sentinel.  He would walk through the neighborhood and talk to everyone, and he saw everything.  Sitting in the gas station and listen to him tell stories was a joy.  And he was more than a funny guy.  He was very informed and loved to talk about politics.  He always reminded me of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.  Man, that’s a guy that could have only existed in Bojon Town.


Edward Kocman.  The Bojon, to me.  If they had Bojon in the dictionary, my Uncle Haizie’s picture would be there.  (help me with this spelling!  I’m a horrible Bojon nickname speller).  Some knew him as Spike.  He was a big man.  Around the other old guys, he was in his element.  They’d argue about things, and even when they agreed, they sounded like they were arguing.  But when you were just having a conversation, he was a very quiet, gentle man.  He would go for walks after he retired.  Every day.  And not just walks.  He’d walk from Bojon Town to Roncalli High School and back.  Daily.  I bought my first car from him for $200.  A red 1960 Chevy Impala.  It had just over 100,000 miles on it.  Most cars with that many miles were shot.  This one was like new.  You could eat off of the engine.  It ran like a clock.  One day after a huge rainstorm, the intersection at Mesa and Santa Fe was flooded.  No one could get through, and any car that tried to go ended up dying out.  I pulled up and Uncle Haizie was standing on the corner.  He told me not to go, and I told him to back up and watch how it’s done.  I backed up about 40 feet, punched it, and hit that puddle at about 40 mph.  I threw up a wave that would have swamped the Titanic.  A cloud of steam from my engine nearly blinded me.  My car died out, and I put it in neutral and coasted right into my parking place next to my mom and dad’s house.  I got out, and I could hear Uncle laughing from 100 feet away.  He was slapping me on the back and saying that was the best thing he ever saw.  He had such a sense of humor and a sense of family that he’s still inspiring to me.